American astronaut, Sally Ride passed away today from pancreatic cancer. She was 61. Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983 when she made her maiden voyage on the Space Shuttle Challenger. She traveled on the Challenger again in 1984 and was training for a third mission when the Challenger exploded in 1986. She was appointed to the panel charged with investigating the tragedy. After retiring from the space program in 1987, she went to work at her alma mater, Stanford before becoming a professor of physics at UC San Diego.
I remember reading a book about Sally Ride in third or fourth grade and thinking she was the coolest person ever. I was at the age when I was starting to imagine what I could be when I grew up, and Sally Ride taught me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I should never assume that, just because I’m a girl, certain professions would be off limits.
You’ll be missed, Sally. Rest in Peace.