Ride, Sally Kristen

Ride, Sally Kristen

1951–2012, American astrophysicist and astronaut, b. Encino, Calif. With an M.A. in physics (1975) and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Stanford Univ., she joined NASA in 1978, where she was an astronaut (1979–87) and helped design the robot arm for the space shuttle. In 1983 she became the first American woman in space; she flew on a second mission the following year. She also served (1986, 2003) on the commissions that investigated the Challenger and ColumbiaColumbia,
U.S. space shuttle. On its 28th flight, on Feb. 1, 2003, after completing a 16-day scientific mission, the spacecraft disintegrated during reentry, killing its seven-person crew.
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 disasters. In 1989 she became professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute at the Univ. of Calif., San Diego. Dedicated to arousing interest in the sciences in young people, she wrote six science books for children.
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