Sally Ride: A timeless inspiration for women in science

The trailblazing American astronaut was born on May 26, 1951

Stars Insider

21/05/20 | StarsInsider

CELEBRITY Retrospective

On June 18, 1983, Sally K. Ride became the first North American female astronaut to be sent into space. People around the world could hear the glass ceiling shattering as this 31-year-old physicist from California boarded the space shuttle Challenger and launched into history.

The mission was six days, she was accompanied by four colleagues, and she loved it so much she went again the following year.

Her journey to space was perhaps most difficult on Earth, as she had to squeeze into NASA, past years and years of gender bias and discrimination. She was asked questions her male colleagues never had to answer, and her ability was doubted at various points, but she had the intelligence, persistence, and determination that rendered everyone else’s opinions irrelevant.

Her legacy and work in academia continued to influence women and girls for years to come, and it is still being felt in NASA’s latest venture: to land the first woman on the moon.

NASA announced that their goal is to send the first female to the moon in 2024, and while it’s a huge leap for womankind, the announcement also made it startlingly clear how far gender equality has yet to go. This initiative is part of their Artemis mission, which aims to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 with the "first woman and the next man." 

So to celebrate the woman who stirred NASA up, check out this gallery and learn more about the almost-tennis star, quiet gay pride icon (she was only properly recognized as the first gay astronaut recognized after her death), and pioneer for women in both science and space travel>

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