Breaking News: Sally Ride Slips the Surly bonds of EarthPosted: July 23, 2012
Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman to travel into space, died on Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to her organization, Sally Ride Science. She was 61.
Ride broke new ground for American women in 1983 when at the age of 32 she and four crewmates blasted off aboard space shuttle Challenger. She returned to space for a second mission a year later.
“Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism – and literally changed the face of America’s space program,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, said in a statement.
“She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly,” Bolden said.
Ride grew up in Los Angeles and attended Stanford University, where she earned degrees in physics and English. She joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 1978.
She was assigned to a third shuttle flight, but training for the mission was cut off after the fatal 1986 Challenger accident that claimed the lives of six colleagues and a schoolteacher.
Ride served as a member of the presidential commission that investigated the accident, then assisted the agency as an administrator with long-range and strategic planning.
She left NASA in 1989 and joined Stanford as a professor. Ride’s interest in education extended to younger students, particularly women whom she targeted with her science education startup Sally Ride Science in San Diego.
The company creates science programs and publications for elementary and middle school students and educators.
Ride also authored five science books for children and served on dozens of NASA, space and technology advisory panels, including the board that investigated the second fatal space shuttle accident in 2003.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr