Sally Ride Timeline
Timeline Description: Born on May 26, 1951, Sally Ride grew up to be the first American woman in space, a successful physicist, astronaut and role model for little girls. Following her career with NASA, Ride was a passionate advocate for high quality science education for children.

Date Event
May 26, 1951 Sally Ride Was Born

Sally Ride was born in Encino, California. She had a strong interest in science, even as a young girl. Her parents encouraged her academic studies throughout her childhood and adolescence.
1977 Applied to NASA

By 1977, Sally Ride had completed degrees in English and physics at Stanford University in California. She was in the process of completing a PhD in physics when NASA asked for female applicants to the astronaut program.
January 1978 Chosen by NASA

In January, 1978, Sally Ride was chosen as one of 35 successful applicants from a pool of 8000 women who wanted to become astronauts. She began her astronaut training later that year.
May 1978 Sally Ride Completed PhD at Stanford

In May of the same year, Sally Ride completed her PhD in physics. She worked specifically on the interactions between X-rays and interstellar media.
August 1978 Began Astronaut Training

Sally Ride began astronaut training along with other women chosen in August 1978. During training, the astronauts went through flight training, water survival, weightlessness, and training in navigation and communications.
August 1979 Completed Astronaut Training

By August, 1979, Sally Ride had completed astronaut training. She was assigned to a planned 1983 space mission, STS-7 scheduled for 1983. She would serve as mission specialist.
June 18, 1983 First Space Mission

The space shuttle Challenger launched with Sally Ride aboard as mission specialist on June 18, 1983. She was the first American woman to go into space. The mission was successful. Ride described the experience as the most fun she would ever have in her life.
October 5, 1984 Second Space Mission

On Ride's second space flight, she was one of a crew of seven, along with another female astronaut. The Challenger successfully landed after a 197 hour mission.
June 1985 Assigned to STS 61-M

Less than a year after her last flight, Ride was assigned to serve on a planned mission, STS 61-M. Mission training began, but was not completed.
January 1986 STS 61-M Cancelled

STS 61-M was cancelled following the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. The Challenger exploded only 73 seconds into its flight.
1986 Served on Commission to Investigate Challenger

Ride, along with a number of others, served on the Presidential Commission to investigate the Challenger explosion.
1989 Left NASA

After several years in various positions at NASA, Ride left NASA to begin teaching in academia and working for private industry. She took a position at the University of California-San Diego.
2001 Founded Sally Ride Science

In 2001, Ride founded Sally Ride Science to support and encourage young girls to study the sciences. This remained a passion of hers throughout the rest of her life.
2003 Investigated Columbia Disaster

Following the loss of the Columbia shuttle during re-entry into the atmosphere, Ride again served on a committee to investigate the disaster, much as she had the Challenger disaster.
2003 Inducted into Astronaut Hall of Fame

Some 20 years after her first space mission, Ride was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
2009 Served on Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee

In 2009, with the space program in a state of significant flux, Ride served on the committee to review planned future space flights. The final reports were released in 2010.
July 2, 2012 Sally Ride Died

Sally Ride died of pancreatic cancer after a 17-month long illness in July 2012. She was only 61 years old.