Ride, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space


“Ride, Sally, Ride!” chanted the crowd on an early Saturday morning as the Challenger shuttle blasted off into space. Inside, Sally Ride made history, becoming the first American woman to fly to space.

Sally Kristen Ride was born May 26th, 1951 to parents Joyce and Dale Ride in idealistic Southern California. She was intrinsically shy and was nurtured by her parents in a progressive, free-thinking household. Sally’s parents never expected less of her because of her gender, and she was raised to love both sports and academics from an early age. As a teen, she attended a private, all-girls school where she took advanced classes and spent the weekend playing competitive tennis. She took classes at UCLA before transferring to Stanford to complete a rare double major.

While Sally Ride was studying to complete her Ph.D., a front-page article on The Stanford Daily caught her eye. “NASA to Recruit Women” the paper stated, and Ride chose to apply as a ‘mission specialist’. She was successful and was one of the class of thirty-five new astronauts (known as thirty-five new guys or TFNG). This group of astronauts was the first to include women and racial minorities. Sally Ride also managed to complete her Ph.D. while in training. Hard work and rigorous studying paid off as Sally was selected to be the first American woman in space. Once Dr. Ride was named, she often experienced passive sexism, which she deflected or shut down using her famed wit.

Sally Ride also co-founded Sally Ride Science (S.R.S), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to engaging middle school learners in the STEM fields. She dedicated her later life to S.R.S. and inspired many young girls with her work. She worked with UC San Diego to bring this program to youth across the country, and it’s still running.


I chose Sally Ride as my Eminent person because of her work as the first female astronaut and entrepreneur. She broke down so many barriers and dedicated her life to helping others. She also used her celebrity to raise awareness about important issues, and inspire the future generations. Sally Ride is not only an inspiration to me, she is an inspiration to thousands of girls and young women across the country.

An important part of Eminent is connecting to our chosen person. I created a chart to compare and contrast our two lives. I used an idea from Aislyn’s post “MacKaye and I”, and made a table to compare our lives.

Sally Ride Caitlin Owens
Has been to space Has not been to space
Was born in California Has lived in California
Interested in science Interested in science
Introvert Introvert
Born in the 50’s/Baby Boomer Born in the 2000’s/Gen. Z
Part of the LGBTQ+ community Part of the LGBTQ+ community
Played tennis Plays field hockey
Agnostic Agnostic


I am very excited for Eminent and Night of the Notables. Sally Ride is an interesting person with an incredible life, and I look forward to learning more about her.

T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… AND LIFTOFF! Night Of the Notables, here I come! 

If you are interested in learning more about Sally Ride, you can check out the complete biography I made:

Sally Ride: A Biography


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