Sally Ride

(Sally Kristen Ride)

Sally Ride
Sally Ride
  • Born: May 26, 1951
  • Died: July 23, 2012
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Physicist









Sally Kristen Ride was an American astronaut, physicist, and engineer. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride was the third woman in space overall, after USSR cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982). Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32. After flying twice on the Orbiter Challenger, she left NASA in 1987. She worked for two years at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control, then at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics, primarily researching nonlinear optics and Thomson scattering. She served on the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters, the only person to participate in both. Ride died of pancreatic cancer on July 23, 2012.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
After the Challenger accident, NASA put in a lot of time to improve the safety of the space shuttle to fix the things that had gone wrong. Time
All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.
Because I was a tennis player, Billie Jean King was a hero of mine.
But even in elementary school and junior high, I was very interested in space and in the space program.
But when I wasn't working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth.
Different astronauts sleep in different ways.
Even though NASA tries to simulate launch, and we practice in simulators, it's not the same - it's not even close to the same.
For a long time, society put obstacles in the way of women who wanted to enter the sciences. Society ;Time ;Women
For quite some time, women at NASA only had scientific backgrounds. Time ;Women
For whatever reason, I didn't succumb to the stereotype that science wasn't for girls. I got encouragement from my parents. I never ran into a teacher or a counselor who told me that science was for boys. A lot of my friends did. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I did not come to NASA to make history. History
I didn't really decide that I wanted to be an astronaut for sure until the end of college.
I do a lot of running and hiking, and I also collect stamps - space stamps and Olympics stamps.
I don't have any nicknames.
I felt very honored, and I knew that people would be watching very closely, and I felt it was very, very important that I do a good job.
I had both male and female heroes.
I have a lot of common sense. I know what needs to be done and how to approach it. I have an ability to work with people on large enterprises. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I haven't written my memoirs or let the television movie be made about my life. Life
I liked math - that was my favorite subject - and I was very interested in astronomy and in physical science. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I slept just floating in the middle of the flight deck, the upper deck of the space shuttle.
I think eventually private enterprise will be able to send people into orbit, but I suspect initially it's going to have to be with NASA's help.
I think it's important for little girls growing up, and young women, to have one in every walk of life. So from that point of view, I'm proud to be a role model! Life ;Women
I was always very interested in science, and I knew that for me, science was a better long-term career than tennis. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
It takes a couple of years just to get the background and knowledge that you need before you can go into detailed training for your mission. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
It takes a few years to prepare for a space mission.
It's easy to sleep floating around - it's very comfortable. But you have to be careful that you don't float into somebody or something!
It's no secret that I've been reluctant to use my name for things.
It's well known that many girls have a tendency to dumb down when they're in middle school.
I've discovered that half the people would love to go into space and there's no need to explain it to them. The other half can't understand and I couldn't explain it to them. If someone doesn't know why, I can't explain it. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I've spent my whole life not talking to people, and I don't see why I should start now. Life
My background is in physics, so I was the mission specialist, who is sort of like the flight engineer on an airplane.
My parents must have done a great job. Anytime I wanted to pursue something that they weren't familiar with, that was not part of their lifestyle, they let me go ahead and do it.
NASA has to approve whatever we wear, so there are clothes to choose from, like space shorts - we wear those a lot - and NASA T-shirts.
No, I think most astronauts recognize that the space shuttle program is very high-risk, and are prepared for accidents.
On a standard space shuttle crew, two of the astronauts have a test pilot background - the commander and the pilot.
On both of my flights, everything went very well.
Once you are assigned to a flight, the whole crew is assigned at the same time, and then that crew trains together for a whole year to prepare for that flight. Time
One thing I probably share with everyone else in the astronaut office is composure.
Rocket science is tough, and rockets have a way of failing. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Science is fun. Science is curiosity. We all have natural curiosity. Science is a process of investigating. It's posing questions and coming up with a method. It's delving in. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
So I decided on science when I was in college. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
So I saw many planets, and they looked just a little bit brighter than they do from Earth.
So most astronauts are astronauts for a couple of years before they are assigned to a flight.
So most astronauts getting ready to lift off are excited and very anxious and worried about that explosion - because if something goes wrong in the first seconds of launch, there's not very much you can do.
Some astronauts sleep in sort of beds - compartments that you can open up and crawl into and then close up, almost like a little bedroom.
Studying whether there's life on Mars or studying how the universe began, there's something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. That's something that is almost part of being human, and I'm certain that will continue. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Life
The astronauts who came in with me in my astronaut class - my class had 29 men and 6 women - those men were all very used to working with women. Women
The experience of being in space didn't change my perspective of myself or of the planet or of life. I had no spiritual experience. Life
The fact that I was going to be the first American woman to go into space carried huge expectations along with it.
The food isn't too bad. It's very different from the food that the astronauts ate in the very early days of the space program. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
The most anxious time was during launch, just because that is so dramatic. Time
The pressure suit helps if something goes wrong during launch or re-entry - astronauts have a way to parachute off the shuttle. The suits protect you from loss of pressure in case of emergency.
The space shuttle is a better and safer rocket than it was before the Challenger accident.
The stars don't look bigger, but they do look brighter.
The view of Earth is spectacular. Nature
The women's movement had already paved the way, I think, for my coming. Women
Then during the mission itself, I used the space shuttle's robot arm to release a satellite into orbit.
There are aspects of being the first woman in space that I'm not going to enjoy.
We can see cities during the day and at night, and we can watch rivers dump sediment into the ocean, and see hurricanes form.
Well, we spend an awful lot of our time working and doing experiments. It's very busy up on the shuttle. Time
When the space shuttle's engines cut off, and you're finally in space, in orbit, weightless... I remember unstrapping from my seat, floating over to the window, and that's when I got my first view of Earth. Just a spectacular view, and a chance to see our planet as a planet.
When you're getting ready to launch into space, you're sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen.
Yes, I did feel a special responsibility to be the first American woman in space.
You know, I go around the country a lot.