Maryland Remembers First Female Astronaut Sally Ride

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Sally Ride blazed trails in space and across headlines as America’s  first woman astronaut.

Alex DeMetrick reports her death is now bringing memories to life.

In 1983, a woman headed for the space shuttle was a news event all its own, and NASA wasn’t shy about it.

Sally Ride’s ride was the focus of enormous attention and pressure.

“Somebody said sometimes the best man for the job is a woman,” President Ronald Reagan once said.

For Ride, that was a lot more than a folksy saying. If there were to be other women behind her she had to be perfect the first time.

“It was very important for me that I understand my role really well, prepared for the mission because the last thing I wanted to do was get into space and make a mistake,” Ride said.

She made that journey only once more in 1984. On the floor of the Senate, Sen. Barbara Mikulski honored Ride’s Second Act.

“She dedicated her entire life to encouraging young women to study science, math and technology,” Mikulski said.

The Second Act eventually brought Sally Ride to the Maryland Science Center to meet middle school girls.

Unfortunately, there is no recording of what was said that day, but the center’s CEO was there and remembers.

“Sally talked about if you just stuck to it, there are opportunities for women. She was a Ph.D. physicist after all. And that it took some work, but there was no reason the young ladies in attendance couldn’t achieve some of the things she achieved,” said Van Reiner, Maryland Science Center CEO.

“She died steadfast, true and true to herself and true to her mission,” Mikulski said.

Ride was 61 when she died from pancreatic cancer.

While she gathered so much attention as an astronaut, she requested NASA not reveal her illness until her passing.

More from Alex DeMetrick
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