We are sad to report that Dr Sally Ride, the first US woman to fly in space has passed away at the age of 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  Having joined NASA in1978, the 32-year-old astronaut gained fame on her space shuttle flight aboard STS-7 Challenger in 1983 become America’s first female astronaut (she was the third woman in space).   Dr Ride flew again on the STS-41G Challenger mission in 1984.   

Dr Ride later served on the Rogers commission investigating the causes of the STS-51L Challenger launch disaster in 1986 which killed seven astronauts.  She later served on the investigation panel for the STS-107 Columbia launch-induced re-entry disaster.   Before that she had gained a degrees in English/Physics and went on to do a Masters and a PhD degree in Physics. 

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America’s first woman in space, Dr Sally Ride, admires the view from theSpace Shuttle Challenger’s pilot seat on STS-7. Courtesy: NASA

Having spent time on NASA’s strategic planning effort, Dr Ride left NASA to go to Stanford University in 1987, later becoming a Professor of Physics at the University of California in 1989. Dr Ride also wrote books for children encouraging to study science.  

Having previously married and divorced male astronaut, Steve Harley, Dr Ride joined up with female partner Tam O’Shaughnessy. She was with her for 27 years. 

We give our condolences to Sally Ride’s partner, family and friends.