Sally Ride, America's First Woman in Space, Dies at 61

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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: 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:

Various celebrities and fans of Sally Ride tweeted their respects to America's first woman in space:

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