Human space flight has always captivated the minds of the public, especially ever since man ventured into space; however, when a woman first traveled up into space (alongside man), the way we observed space travel was changed forever. The woman who took responsibility for being the first American woman in space was Sally Ride.
Sally Ride, a 32 year-old English and Physics graduate from Stanford University, was accepted into the space program at NASA after responding to a newspaper advertisement from the well-known space agency (Source: Nasa.gov). Ride then assisted as Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for various space shuttle flights, and also assisted with the shuttle's robotic arm.
Ride's first venture into space was on the Challenger in 1983, making her the first American woman to travel into space via NASA. Unfortunately, she was not the actual first woman in space. Two Russian women (Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya) traveled into space prior to her assignment with NASA.
Recently, Ride was involved with a long battle of pancreatic cancer, and then lost her fight on July 23rd, 2012, at 61 years of age. NASA posted the following tweet regarding her passing:
"Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism – and literally changed the face of America’s space program." http://t.co/q7BLb95t
Various celebrities and fans of Sally Ride tweeted their respects to America's first woman in space:
Sally Ride was an inspirational trailblazer for American women. We're all grateful for her example. She will be greatly missed.
Awful news! Sally Ride has died. She was the first US woman in space. Will be forever known as an icon, trail blazing a path to the stars.
Space programs create unique portfolios of heroes -- in life and in death. US Shuttle astronaut Sally Ride 1951-2012, RIP.
God Speed, Sally Ride. She aimed for the stars. Let's all do the same. Hanx
Very sorry to learn of astronaut Dr. Sally Ride's death. She changed the world, getting girls excited about science. She will be missed.
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space and a champion of women in science. Generations of Americans have lost a heroine today.
Sally Ride went to space before her 33rd birthday. Ask what science can do for girls AND what girls can do for science. #heroines