Ride, Sally (Kristen)(1951– ) astronaut, astrophysicist; born in Encino, Calif. Selected for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) astronaut program out of 1,000 female candidates (1978), she became the first American woman in space on the space shuttle Challenger (1983). Known for solving difficult engineering problems and being a team player, she served on a presidential commission investigating the Space Shuttle Challenger accident (1986), and as special assistant to the administrator, NASA (1987).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.