Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Astronaut Sally Ride passes away

Astronaut Sally Ride in space on Shuttle Challenger.

Sally Ride, America's first woman astronaut in space, passed away yesterday at age 61, from a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  Not only an astronaut, but a brilliant scientist also, Sally Ride inspired millions with her journey to space and her continuing work afterwards to interest girls and women in science and space exploration.

Challenger blasts off on June 18, 1983.

Her first, and historic, spaceflight was on space shuttle Challenger on mission STS-7, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983. On that mission, as a Mission Specialist she helped deploy two satellites into orbit and conducted a series of science experiments. That mission lasted six days.

Her second flight was on mission STS-41G in 1984. During that 8-day flight, the crew deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, and tested satellite refueling and made Earth observations. Although she was assigned to a third mission, the Challenger explosion occurred. She was assigned to the accident investigation board. After that assignment, she accepted a position to help the NASA administrator with long range planning. After leaving NASA, she was recalled to participate in the AUgustine commission, which investigated NASA's future space flight options in 2009, and resulted in the cancellation of the Constellation program. She was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and received a long list of awards and honors.

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