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.