Since Sally Ride was the first American woman to visit space 40 years ago, several women have made space travel history. The six-day, record-breaking Ride mission on board the Challenger space shuttle in 1983 takes place on June 18th.
Before a woman had a seat on a NASA rocket, the US space program had been in existence for more than 20 years. Officials believed that only males, and notably military test pilots, were capable of flying in the early years of the space agency.
Additionally, Ride was the first homosexual person to be an astronaut after his passing. Former NASA astronaut Steve Hawley, who was married to Ride from 1982 to 1987, claimed that she was secretive about her personal life.
But when Ride passed away from pancreatic cancer, the educational organization she co founded, Sally Ride Science, acknowledged her lifelong companion, Tam O’Shaughnessy, and included additional details about her private life in her 2012 obituary.
But NASA hasn’t turned back since women were initially admitted into the US astronaut corps.
Although an assessment by NASA’s Office of Inspector General revealed a decade-long policy has not produced a substantial impact on its diversity statistics throughout the agency’s workforce and leadership, the US space program now boasts the most ethnically and gender-diverse astronaut roster in its history.
Breaking Barriers Beyond Earth
However, earlier this year, astronaut Christina Koch was chosen to make history by being the first female and the first black man to be part of the Artemis II mission, which aimed to send a crew to the moon.
According to writer Lynn Sherr, who is Ride’s biographer, Ride emerged onto the scene in the 1970s with her intellectual prowess, a voracious drive to pursue her interests, and a need to be treated equally despite the cultural restraints that were only just starting to ease at the time.
Sally was born in 1951, so keep that in mind. Women’s rights were essentially nonexistent at the time, and space travel was still considered science fiction, according to Sherr, who spoke to CNN. She recalls how her friendship with Ride immediately grew stronger as a result of their shared awareness of the difficulties encountered by women attempting to succeed in the male-dominated fields of physics and journalism, respectively.
Sherr summed up Ride’s understanding of gender problems by saying, “She just got it.” Sherr’s book “Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space” was originally released in 2014.