Sally Ride: a pioneering space explorer

Inspiring young women for decades.

March 16, 2017

Do you love learning about space and the stars? Whether you’re a cosmos aficionado or just getting your feet wet with knowledge on all things celestial, you must learn all about the game-changing astronaut Sally Ride.

Photography by NASA

Dr. Sally Ride was a physicist and the first American female NASA astronaut to travel in space. Whoa! She changed history as we know it. But this wouldn’t have been possible if she didn’t answer a newspaper ad in 1977 when NASA was looking for women astronauts. Ride’s story shows that taking a chance can impact the entire world.

Sally became the first American woman to fly in space on June 3, 1983, on the STS-7 space shuttle mission. This was only NASA’s seventh space shuttle mission, and Sally was part of a five-person team that deployed several satellites into orbit (source). She joined additional missions in 1984 and 1985.

Sally stopped working for NASA in 1987, and later joined the faculty of the University of California San Diego as a physics professor. She devoted much of her life to advocating for young women to study mathematics and sciences with her company Sally Ride Science as well.

Photography by Amazing Stories

Sadly, Sally passed away in 2012 from pancreatic cancer but her legacy still lives on. She even inspired a pop song by the multi-talented Janelle Monae.

Listen to Janelle’s song inspired by Sally Ride now:

And if you love learning about space and STEM, check out our space-themed lessons.


Stephanie Valente
Content Manager