Vale Sally Ride. 1951 – 2012

Sally Ride
Sally Ride

It is with sadness that we post about the loss of a wonderful person, astronaut Sally Ride. In 2004 she visited us here at Sydney Observatory and gave an inspirational talk.

In this presentation, Dr. Ride discussed her rise through the NASA program as well as her efforts to overcome the image of space flight as being a male-dominated field. In her nine years with NASA, Dr. Ride worked in mission control on two shuttle missions, flew on the space shuttle Challenger twice, and headed a study of NASA’s mission options and future. Throughout her career, Dr. Ride has continued to displayed the leadership and determination it takes to succeed. This powerful presentation she gave showed what it takes to truly have “the right stuff.”

Dr. Ride was a Professor of Space Science at the University of California at San Diego and received her BS in Physics, BA in English, MS and Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford University. Her first spaceflight was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. Her second was also aboard the Challenger in 1984. During those flights Dr. Ride deployed communications satellites, operated the robot arm and conducted experiments in materials, pharmaceuticals, and Earth remote-sensing.

Training for her third spaceflight was interrupted by the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. Dr. Ride served as a member of the Presidential Commission investigating the accident and chaired its subcommittee on Operations. She then served as NASA’s first director of Strategic Planning. Dr. Ride spent two years at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

In 1989 she became the Director of the University of California’s California Space Institute, and joined the UCSD faculty. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, member of the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board and has served on the Boards of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Dr. Ride wrote four science books for children: To Space and Back; Voyager; The Third Planet, and The Mystery of Mars and was an active advocate for girls exploring study and careers in science.

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