Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space has died from pancreatic cancer, her website confirms. She was 61. Ride is famous for becoming the first American woman to fly in space when the shuttle Challenger launched on June 18, 1982. Two years later, she flew again on the Challenger for the 13th shuttle flight.
Ride left NASA in 1987 to teach physics at Stanford University and then at the University of California, San Diego. She founded Sally Ride Science in 2001, which creates classroom materials and training for teachers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy as well as her mother, sister, niece and nephew.
Here’s a statement from Sally Ride Science:
Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.
Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.
Sally’s historic flight into space captured the nation’s imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls. After retiring from NASA, Sally used her high profile to champion a cause she believed in passionately—inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider pursuing careers in science and engineering.
In addition to Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, Sally is survived by her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science; and many friends and colleagues around the country.
Earlier BloombergTV tweeted:
BREAKING: Sally Kristen Ride, the first American woman in space, has died
— Bloomberg TV(@BloombergTV) July 23, 2012
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