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7 Fun Facts About America's First Woman In Space

Sally Ride would be 63 on May 26th. Ride would likely see it as just another day instead of an opportunity to reflect upon her everlasting legacy.

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1. Sally was a gifted athlete

She often mixed it up with the neighborhood boys, but don’t dare call her a tomboy. “I don’t really like that term,” Ride told a reporter. “Tomboy, when applied to a girl, means a girl acting like a boy. As opposed to a girl acting like a girl.”
Via The Ride Family

She often mixed it up with the neighborhood boys, but don’t dare call her a tomboy. “I don’t really like that term,” Ride told a reporter. “Tomboy, when applied to a girl, means a girl acting like a boy. As opposed to a girl acting like a girl.”

2. She always had grand ambitions

“I suggest you keep this letter,” she wrote to a former teacher, “as it may become a collectors’ item and worth millions of dollars when I become famous (as an astrophysicist-tennis player).”
Via Swarthmore College

I suggest you keep this letter,” she wrote to a former teacher, “as it may become a collectors’ item and worth millions of dollars when I become famous (as an astrophysicist-tennis player).”

3. A teacher once described her as having “a first-rate mind, wasted in science.”

Perhaps striving for a balance, or to show up that teacher, she graduated from Stanford with a double major in Physics and English Lit.
Via The Ride Family

Perhaps striving for a balance, or to show up that teacher, she graduated from Stanford with a double major in Physics and English Lit.

4. Her application to NASA began with a two-sentence, hand-scrawled note with a typo scribbled out

To Whom It May Concern,I am PhD candidate in Astrophysics at Stanford University, and am interested in the space shuttle program. Please send me the forms necessary to apply as a “mission specialist” candidate.Thank you, Sally Ride
Via NASA

To Whom It May Concern,

I am PhD candidate in Astrophysics at Stanford University, and am interested in the space shuttle program. Please send me the forms necessary to apply as a “mission specialist” candidate.

Thank you,
Sally Ride

5. She was mindful of her politics

While in training she swore off Coors beer because of Joseph Coors’ opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. Following her flight, she snubbed a Bob Hope special about NASA because she didn’t agree with his use of showgirls, and women in general, as props.
Via Ronald Reagan Library

While in training she swore off Coors beer because of Joseph Coors’ opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. Following her flight, she snubbed a Bob Hope special about NASA because she didn’t agree with his use of showgirls, and women in general, as props.

6. She wore jeans to her wedding to fellow astronaut Steve Hawley

She also flew herself to and from the ceremony.
Via The Ride Family

She also flew herself to and from the ceremony.

7. She realized, and embraced, that she would be a spokesperson on gender issues

“I think maybe it’s too bad that our society isn’t further along and this is such a big deal. I think it’s time…that people realize that women in this country can do any job they want to do.”
Via NASA

I think maybe it’s too bad that our society isn’t further along and this is such a big deal. I think it’s time…that people realize that women in this country can do any job they want to do.”

Learn more about this true American hero in the definitive, fully-authorized bio Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr (available to pre-order today)!

Via Sally K. Ride personal papers

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