Sally Ride Tribute Taking Place Monday
May 19, 2013

NASA To Celebrate Life And Legacy Of Astronaut Sally Ride

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

NASA will be celebrating the life of the famous female astronaut Sally Ride on Monday in Washington DC at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The space agency said this celebration will highlight Ride's contribution and the legacies she left behind after passing away last July. Attendees will be treated to talents from Patti Austin, Damian Kulash of the band OK Go, Twyla Tharp, Maria Shriver and Billie Jean King.

Ride became the first American female in space on June 18, 1983 on Challenger's STS-7 mission.

“The fact that I was going to be the first American woman to go into space carried huge expectations along with it,” Ride recalled in an interview for the 25th anniversary of her flight in 2008. “That was made pretty clear the day that I was told I was selected as a crew. I was taken up to Chris Kraft´s office. He wanted to have a chat with me and make sure I knew what I was getting into before I went on the crew. I was so dazzled to be on the crew and go into space I remembered very little of what he said.”

She said on launch day there was so much excitement that she didn't even get a chance to appreciate the accomplishment at the time, but later was able to realize what an honor it was to be selected as the first woman to get a chance to go into space.

Ride returned to space on shuttle mission STS-41G in 1984. During this mission, the astronauts deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, conducted scientific observations of Earth, and demonstrated potential satellite techniques. She left NASA in August 1987 to join the faculty at the University of California as a professor of physics and director of the university's Space Institute. She founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, in 2001 to pursue her passion to motivate girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology.

Sally died on July 23, 2012 at the age of 61-years-old after battling pancreatic cancer for 17 months.

“Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism — and literally changed the face of America´s space program,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a press release after Ride's death. “The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally´s family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly.”

Anyone in the DC area wishing to attend the event to honor Ride will have the opportunity to purchase ticket's at NASA's Will Call tables on Monday.