Sally Ride 1951-2012
was an American astronaut and physicist. Born in Encino, Los Angeles. After leaving Westlake High School, Beverly Hills, she attended Swarthmore College then Stanford University where she earned a PhD in astrophysics (after deciding not to pursue Billie Jean King's encouragement to become a professional tennis player). Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman in space. She left NASA in 1987. She served on the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia Space Shuttle disasters, the only person to participate in both.
In 1989 she became professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego. She co-wrote seven science books for children, and in 2001 founded Sally Ride Science, to stimulate interest in the subject in schools. The company's chief executive, Tam O'Shaughnessy, was Ride's partner.