NOTA will operate June 18-24, 2022 in commemoration of Dr. Sally Ride and the US Mint release of the Quarter coin in her honor.
Sally Ride (1951-2021) is an american hero and insipirational icon. In addition to her trailblazing achievements as the first american female and youngest american to fly into space, she was worked passionately to improving science education and helping young women and girls foster an interest in science.
Born in Encino, California in 1951, Sally grew up in the Los Angeles area as a talented STEM student and outstanding athlete. Pursuing a career in astrophysics, she also held the dream to become a professional tennis player (1963 Ride was ranked number 20 in Southern California for girls aged 12 and under; she became the Eastern Intercollegiate Women’s Singles champion for 2 years while at Swathmore College)
As a PhD physicist graduate student in Stanford University, she decided to try and apply as a NASA astronaut candidate after spotting an article in the Stanford Daily newpaper indicating that NASA was seeking potential astronauts for the Shuttle Progam. She was one of 8,070 candidates that ultimately applied. On January 16, 1978, she received a phone call from George Abby, NASA’s director of flight operations, who informed her that she had been selected into the astronaut program.
Ride served as a ground-based capsule communicator (CapCom) for the second and third Space Shuttle flights, and helped develop the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (RMS), also known as the “Canadarm” or robotic arm. She was the first woman to serve as a CapCom, the realtime voice of “Houston” Mission Control talking to astronauts on in space.
For her first mission assignment, STS-7, she was selected under tough competition but won based on her technical skills, aptitude and teamwork personality. When the Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on June 18, 1983, Ride became the first American woman to fly in space, and the third woman overall. She also became the youngest American astronaut in space, although there had been younger cosmonauts.
For her second mission, Ride was assigned to the crew of STS-41-G. Ride would become the first American woman to fly twice, and her crewmate Kathryn Sullivan would become the first American woman to perform an extravehicular activity (EVA). It would be the first time that two women were in space together. The mission lifted off from the KSC in the Space Shuttle Challenger on October 5, 1984.
During the mission, Ride carried a white silk scarf that had been worn by Amelia Earhart. On her two flights Ride had spent over 343 hours in space.
In 1989, Ride became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and director of the California Space Institute. Ride led two public-outreach programs for NASA—the ISS EarthKAM and GRAIL MoonKAM projects, in cooperation with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UCSD. The programs allowed middle school students to request images of the Earth and the Moon
Sally Ride co-created entertaining science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students, with a particular focus on girls. Ride co-wrote six books on space aimed at children, with the goal of encouraging children to study science.
Ride received numerous awards throughout her lifetime and after. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame and was awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal twice. Elementary schools in the United States were named after her, including Sally Ride Elementary School in The Woodlands, Texas, and Sally Ride Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland.
In 2013, President Obama posthumously honored Ride with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.