Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has died after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her office announced Monday. She was 61 years old.
The then-NASA astronaut flew as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 and again in 1984. "In a space agency filled with trailblazers, Sally K. Ride was a pioneer of a different sort," NASA said in a statement.
She was 32 years old during her first mission, which occurred two decades after Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963.
From the New York Times' full obit:
Dr. Ride was finishing studies at Stanford — degrees in physics and astrophysics (and also English) — and looking for a job when she saw a newspaper advertisement that said NASA was accepting astronaut applications. She looked at the qualifications and said, “I’m one of those people,” she told The New York Times in 1982. She applied, and made the cut.
"Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment, and love," her colleagues at Sally Ride Science, the organization she created to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science and related fields, said in a statement. "Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless."