12:57 25 July 2012
Sally Ride, America's first ever woman in space has died aged 61 after a 17-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Ride is survived by her partner of 27-years named as Tam O’Shaughnessy on her official obituary from her website which also revealed that Ride was homosexual.
She was highly intelligent physicist who was accepted into the space programme in 1978 responding to a newspaper ad which sought astronauts. Her career rise was rapid.
At age 32 (in 1983) she became the first American woman - and subsequently also the youngest - to fly into space. She worked alongside four other crew members to complete the historic journey.
Ride was praised for her expert knowledge of robotics and calm demeanour that saw her operate a robotic arm to deploy and retrieve a satellite under huge pressure.
A celebrity from the launch, 250,000 watched blast-off with the crowd singing along to the lyrics "Ride Sally Ride" from the classic song 'Mustang Sally'.
Just one year later she was back in space for another mission, but training for her third proposed flight was halted after the Challenger shuttle exploded in Cape Canaveral 73 seconds after take-off, killing six of her friends and colleagues.
Charles Bolden, a former astronaut who has since been promoted to the role as administrator of Nasa, said “her star will always shine brightly”.
Bolden continued: "Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism – and literally changed the face of America's space programme"
After her days at Nasa, Dr Ride became a professor at Stanford and set up Sally Ride Science in San Diego, a science centre for young people.
Ride's sister and spokeswoman for Sally Ride Science, the organisation led by Ride and O'Shaughnessy, was later quoted by the Independent addressing her sexuality.
Bear Ride stated to Buzz Feed: "I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them"
Ride is survived by her mother, O'Shaughnessy, a sister, a niece and a nephew.
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