AT Hall of Fame

On Sally Ride

Yesterday, we here at Atomic Toasters were saddened to learn of the death of former astronaut and damn awesome person, Sally Ride. She was 61 and lost a battle with pancreatic cancer. That’s how her life came to an end, but not how we will remember her. No, her life is way too rich to let that be how it is defined.

From the time she applied to be an astronaut in response to a newspaper ad to the time she rocketed toward the sky aboard Challenger on STS-7 to the time she retired and beyond, Sally Ride led a life of courage and character.

I’m not going to regurgitate her biography. You can read that elsewhere. Sally Ride was a businesswoman, physicist, professor, and astronaut. She was, over everything else, an inspiration. Various groups are claiming Sally Ride as hers. They can, and should. However, in a much broader more inclusive sense she was an inspiration to all of us. The way she handled herself despite the attention given her when she was preparing for that first mission; the way she carried herself with professionalism and compassion…these are where we can all draw inspiration. She wasn’t flashy. She didn’t live the rock star life she could have. She led a private life in a non-private career. She worked to ensure the US spaceflight program was the best on the planet. She worked to get kids interested in science and space. It seems she was always working for the future.

Goodbye, Sally Ride. You’ve left this world a better place.

  • OA5599

    About the time it was announced that she would be the first Y chromosomally-challenged American to go into space, I first heard (or remembered hearing) the song Mustang Sally. Because if the "Ride, Sally, ride" chorus, I presumed the song was written for her, but wondered what being an astronaut had to do with Mustangs. Everyone knows they drive Vettes.

  • That last photo is Alan Shepard's 'Vette. It's in the Saturn V Center at KSC. Check out the license plate number.

    Also, I've touched it.

    • fodder650

      Chuck Yeager's was parked out in the employee lot with a plate that read "BiteMe". There might be a connection.

  • The Professor

    Miss Ride has been one of my heroes (heroine, maybe?) for a long time. A very smart lady who was able to succeed in a very male dominated profession and all of the crap that entails for a woman. She didn't just 'retire' to NASA like so many astronauts do, but did a lot of great work helping and educating young women in the sciences. It's sad that she was so young when she left us, and is definitely someone to be admired and remembered.