Sally Ride

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Sally Kristen Ride (b. May 26, 1951 in Los Angeles CA) was the first American woman to fly into outer space. Only two other women preceded her: Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982), both from the former Soviet Union.

Ride was born in Encino, Los Angeles, California and went to high school at Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles (now Harvard-Westlake School). She initially attended Swarthmore College but received her bachelor's degrees (English and physics) from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. She eventually received a master degree and a Ph.D. in physics at the same institution, while doing research in astrophysics, general relativity, and free-electron laser physics. She later became the first American woman in space as part of a 1983 Space Shuttle Challenger crew of STS-7. She has cumulatively spent more than 343 hours in space.

In 1987, Ride left NASA to work at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. Currently she is a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego.

Ride is the only person to serve on both panels investigating Shuttle accidents, the Challenger explosion and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

She occasionally appears on television, in shows or commercials. She is the author of several children's books about space exploration.

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