In 1977 Sally Ride was finishing her Ph.D. in physics when she saw an ad in the Stanford student newspaper saying that NASA was looking for astronauts—and for the first time was allowing women to apply. Sally sent in her application— along with 8,000 other people. She was one of 35 people—including six women—chosen to join the astronaut corps.
When Challenger blasted off on June 18, 1983, Sally Ride soared into history as the first American woman to fly in space. She became a symbol of the ability of women to shatter barriers. But Sally’s historic flight represented just one aspect of a remarkable and multifaceted life. She was also a physicist, a coauthor of science books for young people, and an inspirational advocate for science education.