She was aboard the shuttle Challenger in June 1983, when she was 32, the first American woman to fly into space. On Monday, Sally Ride succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a 17-month battle. She was 61.
She would return to space one more time before leaving NASA in 1989.
In 2001 she founded the Sally Ride Science Institute, an organization committed to inspiring young people, especially women, to pursue the sciences.
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 programmes 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.