On June 18, 1983 at 7:00 A.M. EDT, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off on the STS-7 mission into space. Sally Ride was on that flight as the first American female astronaut. She loved science, earned her doctorate degree in physics and spent five years preparing for her historic venture.
The crew released two satellites into orbit, used a third instrument package that could operate in the shuttle bay or be released as a satellite, conducted a number of experiments in physics, chemistry, and space medicine. After a bit more than six days and two hours in orbit, STS-7 returned to earth at Edwards Air Force Base in California and later flew to Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the back of a Boeing 747.
Sally Ride made one more flight into space in 1984 aboard the Challenger mission STS-41-G. In 1987 she retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) but stayed active with many of the agency's programs. She also taught physics at the University of California San Diego, and promoted science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to young people - especially girls - through her company, Sally Ride Science, and a number of books.
Sally Ride passed away in 2012 at the age of 61 after blazing an exemplary trail of achievement for all of us but especially for boys and girls who may wonder if dreams really can come true.