The first American woman and NASA astronaut to reach Earth's orbit, Sally Ride, died yesterday, July 23, after fighting pancreatic cancer for nearly a year and a half. According to a statement released by her company, Sally Ride Science, the former astronaut died peacefully.
Ride flew to space aboard the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger during its second flight ever, STS-7, which was carried out in 1983. The purpose of the flight was to deploy a series of satellites directly into low-Earth orbit (LEO), Space
“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sally Ride. As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model,” US President Barack Obama said in a statement issued after the announcement was made.
Overall, Ride was the third female astronaut in space, following Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982), both Soviet cosmonauts. However, the impact she had on women around the world was absolutely phenomenal. Our thoughts go to her family and friends during these tough times.