She was a pioneer in the truest sense of the word.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has died at 61.
She struggled with pancreatic cancer for nearly a year-and-a-half but she was a woman used to facing adversity.
NASA exists within an interesting overlap between the scientific community and the military industrial complex — neither one of those of groups is historically known for being overly friendly to women.
Especially thirty years ago.
Nevertheless, the 31 year-old physicist defied all expectations in 1983 — not the least of which being gravity's — when she rode the Challenger into outer space.
At the time, she was the youngest person to leave the Earth.
For all the ground she broke, Sally took most seriously her responsibilities as a scientist.
After retiring from NASA in 1987, she spent a large portion of her life to founding and maintaining Sally Ride Science — a program devoted to showing kids the beauty and wonder of science.
Thank you for your countless contributions, Sally. You will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.