Sally Ride, 1951-2012

Sorry to hear that Sally Ride, the first US woman to travel into space, has died aged 61, 17 months after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

She blasted off in the US space shuttle Challenger in June 1983.

Ride was not the first woman in space – that was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in June 1963.

Since her first mission in 1983, more than 45 women from the US and other countries have flown in space, including two as shuttle commander.

Ride died on Monday in La Jolla, California.

Once an aspiring tennis player, she went on to earn no fewer than four university degrees including a doctorate in physics.

She joined Nasa in 1978 – one of 35 people selected as astronauts from a field of more than 8,000 who applied.

Ride went on her first space shuttle mission on board the Challenger in 1983.

As well as being the first American woman in space, she was also – at the age of 32 – the youngest person in America at the time to go into orbit.

 

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