The first American woman in space, Sally Ride, would’ve celebrated her 64th birthday today if she were alive. “Everywhere I go I meet girls and boys, who want to be astronauts and explore space, or they love the ocean and want to be oceanographers, or they love animals and want to be zoologists, or they love designing things and want to be engineers. I want to see those same stars in their eyes in 10 years and know they are on their way!” said Sally, who wasn’t just an astronaut; she was an inspiration to an entire generation of girls who didn’t believe they could ever go far beyond teaching and becoming secretaries.

Today, to inspire you, we give you 5 things you need to know about the life of Sally Ride:


1. When she was 26, while completing her Ph.D, Sally applied for the NASA astronaut programme and was selected as one of the six female applicants. Six years later she went into space becoming the first women in the country to do so.


2. In her lifetime, Sally went on two space missions, both on board the Challenger space shuttle- first in1983 and then again in 1984 and finally left NASA in 1987. In total, she spent more than 343 hours in space.


Sally Ride Picture By:
Sally Ride
Picture By:


3. Among her many firsts, Sally was also the first woman to use the robot arm in space and the first to use the arm to retrieve a satellite. She was also the only person to serve on both the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters.


4. Post-retirement, Ride worked at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control and later became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. She then held the position of a director at the California Space Institute and led two public-outreach programs for NASA.


5. One of her biggest achievements, after her space journeys, was her entrepreneurial venture- Sally Ride Science, a company that she co-founded which was aimed at creating science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students, focusing especially on girls.


[Featured Picture Courtesy:]