4 Things You Should Know About Sally Ride

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Every Wednesday at 9:30 PM, a talented crew roleplays their way to fulfill their mission and boldly go where no one has gone before. Join the adventures of the USS Sally Ride on Shield of Tomorrow on  Twitch.

The ship is an important part of any space story. In some cases, it becomes a character in the story. In others, it provides an ambiance that fans want to take with them wherever they go. Our crew at Shield of Tomorrow chose an Intrepid-class vessel and named it after Sally Ride, one of the most famous astronauts in our time. Here are a few things to know about this remarkable spacefarer.

1. Sally Ride Was The First American Woman In Space

Sally Kirsten Ride was born in Encino, Los Angeles, California on May 26, 1951. She obtained an education at Stanford University with a B.A. in English and a B.S, Masters and Ph.D in physics. NASA put out an advertisement in the Stanford student newspaper seeking astronaut applicants. Ride was one of six women accepted out of 8,000 applications. She was part of the development team for the Space Shuttle’s first robotic arm and served as a planetside flight controller for the Shuttle’s first two missions. She went into space as part of the Space Shuttle’s second mission aboard Challenger on June 18th, 1983.

As an additional bonus bit of trivia, Ride was the third woman in space. The first two,  Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982, were part of the Soviet space program.

2. Sally Ride Investigated The Challenger Disaster

Sally Ride was part of the Rogers Commission, which was created to discover why Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its 10th spaceflight. The commission found that NASA’s organization and culture had been at fault because it voilated its own safety rules. A flaw in the O-rings caused pressurized burning gas to escape and cause the external tank to rupture. General Donald Kutyna claimed that Ride quietly provided him with information about the flawed O-ring design that led the Commission in the right direction in their investigation.

3. Sally Ride Founded A STEM Program For Teachers and Kids

Sally Ride Science was founded in 2001 by Ride and Tam O’Shaughnessy, Karen Flammer, Terry McEntee, and Alann Lopes. The nonprofit organization was created to encourage students to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs and teachers to add STEM ideas to their programs. The organization joined up with the University of San Diego in 2015, where it still operated to this day.

4. Sally Ride Is The First Known LGBTQ Astronaut

Ride kept much of her life, but her death revealed her as a pioneer in yet another sense. Ride was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died on July 23rd, 2012. Her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaugnessy, was revealed in Ride’s obituary and later confirmed their relationship.

If you’re ready to catch Star Trek Adventures in action (albeit in the 24th century), the crew of the USS Sally Ride flies every Wednesday at 9:30 PM PT on  Twitch.

Feature Image Credits: NASA (Fair Use)
Image Credits: NASA/JPL (Fair Use), CBS

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves and is a writer for the Star Trek Adventures RPG line. His blog is  here, his Twitter is  here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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