Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died today at the age of 61 from pancreatic cancer.
Ride was chosen as a mission specialist for mission STS-7 aboard the shuttle Challenger, which launched into space on June 18, 1983. She made a second flight aboard Challenger in 1984 and served on the Rogers commission that investigated that vehicle’s loss.
She left NASA in 1987 to become a Stanford physicist and also worked on engaging children in science.
Ride holds a special place in my heart because one of her enduring missions has been engaging young girls in science and mathematics — a goal I share with my own two daughters.