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Sally Kristen Ride was the first-ever American woman to travel to space.
An American physicist and astronaut, Sally Kristen Ride accomplished many great deeds in her lifetime. She was born on 26 May 1951, in California.
In her first space flight of 1983, Sally Ride joined as a mission specialist. In 1984, she went on another space mission, however, Sally was not just an astronaut. She was also a physicist and wrote seven books. She was a very bright student right from her childhood. Her works and achievements, to this date, continue to influence women from all around the world.
During her journey as an astronaut, she had to face several ridicules and criticisms, however, nothing deterred her from achieving her dreams. To all those ridicules, the only answer that she gave was that she thought of herself as an astronaut first. Sally Ride was also an excellent tennis player and was, in fact, among the top tennis players in her country. She had even played matches against the famous tennis champion, Billie Jean King. It was ultimately physics that she chose as her career. Her signature statement was 'Reach for the stars'.
An avid lover of science and maths, Sally Ride, the first-ever American woman to travel to space, was a brilliant student in her childhood. Not only did she excel in academics, but she was also a good athlete. In fact, she was among the top tennis players in her country.
An interesting fact about Sally Ride is that she was not fond of tennis right from the beginning. Instead, she was a huge fan of the baseball team the Dodgers, and wanted to play as a shortstop in their team. It was only after her mother persuaded her to take up tennis, she took interest in the sport. She played a match against the famous tennis champion Billi Jean King who was very impressed with her performance. Sadly, by then, she already had made other plans for her future.
Sally Ride completed her bachelor's degree in physics and English at Stanford University, following which she completed her Master's degree and doctorate at Stanford University as well. Yet another interesting fun fact about the first American woman to go to space is that it was not always her dream to go to space. In fact, while pursuing her doctorate at Stanford University, she wanted to become a university professor. During this time, one day she came across a report published in the student newspaper that said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was looking for new astronauts for their astronaut program. It was not restricted to males alone, as females could also apply. It was right at that moment, she knew she wanted to be an astronaut and travel to space.
At the mere age of 32, Sally Ride was the first woman from America to travel to space. After learning that NASA was hosting a space program and looking for astronauts, she applied immediately. From 8000 applicants, Sally was among 25 applicants who were hired by NASA. She completed her training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she had to go through various activities like parachute jumping, and scuba to become an expert in space travel. She also had to learn how to operate all the controls in a NASA space shuttle.
After completing her training at NASA, she was not sent to outer space right away. Instead, she had to work as a capsule communicator for the second and third space shuttle flights. It was only in 1979 that she qualified as an astronaut on the space shuttle. In the month of June of the year 1983, she became the first woman from America to travel to space. She worked as the mission specialist along with two other mission specialists named Colonel John M. Fabian and Dr. Norman E. Thagard.
Other crew members on the Space Shuttle Challenger included Captain Frederick H. Hauck and Captain Rover L. Crippen. However, that was not all. Yet again, in the year 1984, she was part of the shuttle mission on the Space Shuttle Challenger. It was the 13th Space Shuttle flight mission. The two missions turned out to be successful and she was ready to go on her third mission. It was during that time that the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred. It exploded during take-off, killing all the crew members. As a result, Sally's shuttle mission flight was canceled.
Sally Ride was interested in science and mathematics right from the start. At a time when women were not considered as equals, she, in fact, influenced other girls like her to engage in science education.
Even before her NASA space flight, she had to face discrimination from many people and was bombarded with embarrassing questions in press conferences, only because of her gender. To such questions, she replied with only one answer, that she thought of herself as an astronaut only and nothing more.
Before she found about that NASA was hiring, she was pursuing her doctorate at Stanford University where she had already completed her Master's degree and Bachelor's. In the year 1973, she had earned a degree in physics and in English. Before that, she completed her elementary schooling at Westlake High School for Girls. Although her parents found her inclination towards science, especially physics, very weird, they never stopped her from achieving her goals. Although she was a very good tennis player, she was much more interested in science and considered this to be much more important than her sports career.
The legacy of the first American woman to travel to space, Sally Ride, continues even today. Even after her death, she continues to inspire many women from around the world who wants to pursue a career in the field of science. It's a huge contribution to society. Her great accomplishments have engraved her name in the pages of history forever and made her a hero.
1987 marked the year when she quit working for NASA and instead started working at the California Space Institute, where she continued to influence women and girls to not succumb to societal rules, and instead follow their own dreams and aspirations fearlessly. She was not just an astronaut, but also a physicist. She wrote many books and participated in various space programs and continued to share her knowledge with the world in many ways. In honor of her hard work, her name was added to the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003. At the age of 61 in 2012, she died in her own home in La Jolla after battling pancreatic cancer for 17 months. Her last words are not known yet her legacy still continues, and she is still remembered as not only the first American woman to travel to space but so much more.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 81 Sally Ride facts: the first American woman in space! then why not take a look at Chuck Berry facts or Alex Haley facts.
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