Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Sally Ride, 1st woman in space, dies

24 July 2012, 08:54

 Washington - Sally Ride, the first American woman to journey into space, died on Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her foundation announced. She was 61.

Ride first launched into space in 1983 aboard the Challenger shuttle, taking part in the seventh mission of US space shuttle programme.

US President Barack Obama called her a "national hero and a powerful role model" who "inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars".

"Sally's life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come," he added, in a statement offering condolences to Ride's family and friends.

Nasa administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement Ride "literally changed the face of America's space programme" and that "the nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers, and explorers".


The agency's deputy administrator Lori Garver added that the trailblazing astronaut was a "personal and professional role model to me and thousands of women around the world".

Tributes quickly poured in on the micro-blogging website Twitter including from women who remembered learning as young girls of Ride's pioneering flight.

"I was 7 in the summer of 1983. Sally Ride was simply everything," read one. Another declared: "RIP Sally Ride - you inspired me to believe that, as a female, anything was possible. May your journey to the stars be swift."

In an interview marking the 25th anniversary of the mission, Ride said she was so dazzled that she only later "came to appreciate what an honour it was to be selected to be the first (US woman) to get a chance to go into space".

Ride, born May 26, 1951, in southern California, earned degrees in physics and English from Stanford University.

She applied to be an astronaut at US space agency Nasa in 1977, after seeing an ad in her university's student newspaper. It was the first time the space agency had allowed applications from civilians - or from women.

Ride was one of 35 people, including just six women, chosen from a pool of 8 000 applicants.


She flew in two space missions, logging nearly 350 hours in space. However, after the Challenger explosion that killed all seven crew members, her third planned mission was grounded in 1986.

Ride served on the commission to investigate the accident, and was then assigned to Nasa headquarters. She retired from the agency in 1987.

On her foundation's website, Ride said of her historic foray into space: "The thing I'll remember most about the flight is that it was fun."

According to the foundation, Ride became an advocate "inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider careers in science and engineering".

She founded Sally Ride Science in 2001, directed Nasa-funded education projects, and also co-authored seven science books for children.

US Senator Barbara Mikulski - the longest serving female legislator in the US congress - said Ride "was the first American women to go into space, but she didn't want to be the only".

"She dedicated her life to getting more girls involved in science through her foundation."

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney also offered his condolences, saying Ride "was a profile in courage, and while she will be missed, her accomplishments will never be forgotten".

Ride is survived by Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, as well as by her mother, sister, niece and nephew.


Tags nasa

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...