Women Talk

Sally Ride: The Woman Who Broke The Boundary To Space 

Celebrating 40 years of Sally Ride- the first Queer and American woman to go to space. 

The First American Woman in Space, Sally Ride Was Queer And Proud

Sally Ride made history when she became the first woman from the United States of America to travel into outer space. On June 18th, 1983, she took a ride to space that changed her life and the course of space history forever. 

40 Years Anniversary of Sally Ride’s First Trip To Space 

She was the first American woman to go to outer space and the third woman in history to do that. Sally went on a six-day mission on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983, and before her Soviet cosmonauts, Valentina Tereshkova, and Svetlana Savitskaya had gone into space in 1963 and 1982, respectively. 

This is what Ride had to say about her experience- 

“The thing that I’ll remember most about the flight is that it was fun. In fact, I’m sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”

Ride (mission specialist)  had taken this journey on an STS-7 space shuttle along with Robert L. Crippen (commander), Frederick H. Hauck (pilot), John M. Fabian, and Norman E. Thagard (mission specialists). 

Her Life 

Sally was born in Los Angeles on May 26th, 1951. She was always fascinated by science and the telescope was her go-to toy. An athletic teenager, she went on to do her undergraduate in Physics and English from Stanford University in 1973. She then did her Ph.D. in physics. 

Read more:- Women in Science: 7 Female Scientists Who Made us Proud

Ride joining NASA was huge during this era. This was an era when women were still finding a place in society and them going to space is not something that was talked about. Women rights issues were also non-existent at this time. So, in 1977 when NASA put out an ad that it was looking for new astronauts, including women- it was huge. It was a decision that changed Sally’s life and that of the nation. 

Sally has also been instrumental in the Roger Commission and tried to understand the reason for the Challenger space shuttle disaster. She was the first director of NASA’s Office of Exploration. 

Read more:- Not Just History- Your Science Books Also Need Revision, 5 Ancient Indian Scientists & Their Discoveries

Sally Ride Science

After her retirement from NASA in 1987, she became a science fellow at  Sally Ride Science and also taught as a professor of physics at the University of California. 

She also founded a company Sally Ride Science with Tam O’Shaughnessy to encourage young girls to pursue a career in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) field. It was only after the death of Sally that it was known that Tam was actually her partner for 27 years. Sally, despite being in the limelight, chose to keep her personal life very private. Her being part of the LGBTQ community just adds to her being the first known queer astronaut. 

The woman was a legend, and still is. She is a role model to many young girls who want to get into this field and also to people from the queer community who are breaking the glass ceiling. Celebrating 40 years of her first ride to space should also be a celebration of women breaking barriers and having the ability to do everything! 

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Harshita Bajaj

Harshita has a background in Psychology and Criminology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Criminology. She can be found reading crime thrillers (or any other book for that matter) or binge-watching shows on Netflix when she is not in hibernation.
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