Sally Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) was an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut. Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman to enter space.In 1983, became the first American woman and youngest American (at the time) to enter outer space. She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982).
Ride was one of 8,900 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. As a result, Ride joined NASA in 1978. During her career, Sally was the Capsule Communicator (CapCom) for the second and third Space Shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped develop the Space Shuttle's robot arm. On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. On STS-7, the five-person crew deployed two communications satellites, conducted pharmaceutical experiments, and was the first to use the robot arm in space and the first to use the arm to retrieve a satellite.
Her second space flight was in 1984, also on board the Challenger. She has cumulatively spent more than 343 hours in space. Ride had completed eight months of training for her third flight when the Space Shuttle Challenger accident occurred. She was named to the Presidential Commission investigating the accident, and headed its subcommittee on Operations.After the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. There she led NASA's first strategic planning effort, authoring a report entitled "Leadership and America's Future in Space", and founded NASA's Office of Exploration.
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