Jul 23 2012

First US female astronaut, Sally Ride, passes away

Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has passed away after a long fight with pancreatic cancer. She was only 61 years-old.

Ondeadline– Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the President and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.

Sally’s historic flight into space captured the nation’s imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls. After retiring from NASA, Sally used her high profile to champion a cause she believed in passionately—inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider pursuing careers in science and engineering.

A few years ago I had the opportunuty to speak with Dr Ride. For someone who soared above the clouds she was incredibly down to earth, super enthusiastic about science ed, and just really, really cool.


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  1. 1
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Another of the living relics of the age of public excitement about science passes.

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    Sic transit gloria mundi.

  3. 3


  4. 4
    Andrew T.

    That’s a blow in the gut for my mood today. She was an amazing person.

  5. 5
    Gregory in Seattle

    It turns out that she was also the first lesbian in space: since 1985, she was in a relationship with Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy. This comes from an official release from her company, Sally Ride Science, who identified O’Shaughnessy as Ride’s “partner of 27 years.”

    Sally Ride, First American Woman In Space, Revealed To Have Female Partner Of 27 Years

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    The biography put out by Sally Ride Science can be found here.

  7. 7

    It’s been a sad month for the US space program.
    Two great former astronauts have been lost in less than a month.
    Our military community at the Naval Postgraduate School is still mourning the loss of Captain Alan (Dex) Poindexter in a ski jet accident. Dex and his wife have been personal friends of ours for over a year, and I have had nothing but respect for Dex. He was the Dean of Students at NPS and his leadership is sorely missed.
    The loss of Sally Ride is yet another blow to the NASA community. I’m certain that Dex’s widow Lisa knew her, so I’m sure that this is tough news for her today.

  8. 8
    Crudely Wrott

    I am so sad to hear this. I held Sally up as an example to my own daughters to show that there are no limits on personal achievements. They will be saddened too.

    Fly, Sally. Fly.

  9. 9

    Gregory in Seattle-

    First known LGBT person in space. It’s possible others came before her that we don’t know about.

    I’d hesitate to label her a lesbian, unless her partner and/or family and close friends put that out there unambiguously. She may well have been bisexual. Or pansexual or polysexual. All we know for sure is that she was clearly not straight, and sexuality is *not* an either/or thing.

  10. 10
    Gregory in Seattle

    @gworroll #9 – I sit corrected.

  11. 11

    Our condolences go out to her family and friends.

  12. 12
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Vale Sally Ride, the heroic woman who broke the glass sky. She will be remembered.

    Condolence to her partner her family and friends.

    Greta Christina has a good blog post on this here :



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