Celebrate the historic journey of Sally Ride

Astronaut Sally K. Ride, an STS-7 mission specialist found on the Space Shuttle Challenger’s flight deck, became the first American woman in space on June 18, 1983. Photo provider: NASA

On Saturday 39 years ago, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Milestones have marked a new era in space flight and have continued to encourage girls and women to pursue their careers in space flight. But for the ride, she was doing the work she trained.

Ride’s space flight took place about 20 years after Soviet astronaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space and is still the only woman to fly solo missions. Today, there are only a few female astronauts in Russia’s space program, and only four female astronauts have flown into space.

Ryde described her experience in an interview as the first American female space explorer. 2002 Johnson Space Center.

Ryde told interviewers that he learned that NASA was recruiting women as astronauts in 1978 when he saw an ad in the Stanford University Student Newspaper.

After flying to Houston to become part of the last 200 candidates and undergoing a week of interviews, meetings and medical examinations, Ride said he learned by phone early in the morning that he was an astronaut candidate. I did.

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“My biggest frustration was at 5 or 6 in the morning in California, so my friends and whole family were asleep,” Ryde said in a 2002 interview. “I wasn’t sure if I should wake them up to tell them the news!”

Ride was in the process of earning a PhD. When she applied for the program, she was in physics. After her election, she said she defended her dissertation before driving to Houston to begin training astronauts.

The 1978 NASA Astronaut Class Notable for several reasons. This included the first female astronauts and the first manned astronauts in NASA’s manned spaceflight program.

After completing her training and serving as Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) on two Space Shuttle missions, Ride was selected for the STS-7 mission in 1982.


The STS-7 crew included (from left) mission specialists Norman Sagard, John Fabian, and Sally Ride. Pilot Frederick Hauck; Commander Robert Crippen. Behind Klippen is John Manke, then director of NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. (now

Ride described some interesting moments leading up to her space flight, primarily when a team of male engineers understood what a woman needed in space.

“NASA engineers, in their infinite wisdom, decided that a female astronaut wanted to make up, so they designed a make-up kit,” she said. “A makeup kit brought by a NASA engineer.”

But Ride was busy training the flight, so he said make-up was the last thing in her mind.

At another time, a group of engineers asked her if 100 tampons were enough to carry out her weekly mission.

“We want to be safe,” she remembered what they said to her.

Ride replied she “it wouldn’t be the right number,” and said they were able to cut it in half without problems.

On June 18, 1983, the ride was launched on the Space Shuttle Challenger with four crew members. She told JSC interviewers that the shuttle simulator helped prepare for the launch, but couldn’t prepare for the sensation of exploding the Earth.

“It’s an emotionally and psychologically overwhelming experience,” she recalled. “Very exhilarating. Exhilarating, scary and overwhelming.”

The crew spent six busy days in space. Ride operated the robotic arm of the shuttle to deploy the satellite, catching it two days later and returning it to Earth, the first satellite of the spaceflight mission.


Mission Specialist NASA Astronaut Sally K. Ride made a space flight on the STS-7 in 1983. (Image: NASA / MSFC)

The STS-7 ended with the Space Shuttle landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Ride said before her flight that her training kept her busy and she wasn’t fully aware of her attention to being the first American woman in space.

After returning to Earth, Ryde said an onslaught of attention finally struck her.

“During training, I was protected from everything. There was the best excuse in the world.” I have to train because I have this job, “she said, but after the flight,” everyone. I wanted a part of me. “

Approximately 40 years after the first space flight of the ride, women now occupy half of all NASA astronaut classes. It has been so since 2013.

After the ride, there were many other first things by other women in space.

These women have achieved the first of spaceflight to lead the way to the next generation

In 1995, NASA Astronaut Eileen Collins became the first woman to fly the Space Shuttle, and in 1999 she became the first woman to lead the Space Shuttle mission.

NASA’s currently retired Astronaut Peggy Whitson holds a record of most spacewalks by women performing 10 EVAs or EVAs. Whitson will direct a second all-civilian mission to the ISS next year at Axiom Space.

More recently, in 2019, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir conducted the first all-female EVA outside the International Space Station.


NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch (right) conducted their first all-female EVA in October 2019. (Image: NASA)

Koch also holds the longest single space flight record by a woman in 289 days of orbit.

However, there is still much to be achieved.

NASA plans to achieve another historic first plan in 2025 when women and first-colored people walk on the moon. The space agency has not nominated a crew member for that mission known as Artemis 3, but NASA has revealed about 20 current astronauts who will make up the crew of the Artemis program. , Half are women.

Learn about NASA’s new lunar launch system

Even today, these groundbreaking first events in space flight for women still receive a lot of attention. Part of that is because 77 women have been to space for 556 men. Supercluster astronaut database including ballistic flight.

Ryde said he remembered during a historic space flight that he thought it wasn’t a big deal to want to be a female astronaut.

“It’s a shame that this is so important. It’s a shame that we can’t move forward. It’s normal for women to fly on the Space Shuttle. It would be a great day when this isn’t news.”

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