On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman to go to space, serving as a crew member aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. The female physicist, who was 32 at the time of her mission, not only broke down barriers, but she pushed the limits of possibility for women and girls.
Today, Google honors what would have been her 64th birthday with five unique gifs by illustrator Olivia Huynh, as well as a spectacular Behind the Doodle animated short created by animator Nate Swinehart.
In addition to the illustrations and video, a guest blog post from Tam O’Shaughnessy, Sally Ride’s life partner and co-founder & CEO of Sally Ride Science, tells more about Sally’s life, her flight aboard the space shuttle and her passion for helping kids stay excited about science and technology. It is a brilliant and moving tribute to one of our nation’s most revered and pioneering trailblazers. Here’s an excerpt…
As the first American woman in space, Sally Ride—who would have been 64 today—captured the nation’s imagination as a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers. But her historic flight represented just one aspect of a remarkable and multifaceted life. She was also a physicist, a science writer, and an inspirational advocate for keeping kids excited about science as they go through school.
Sally was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles. She grew up playing with a chemistry set and small telescope—and playing football in the streets with the neighborhood kids. Later she considered playing professional tennis, but decided instead to study science.
In 1977, Sally was finishing her Ph.D. in physics at Stanford University when she saw an article in the student newspaper saying that NASA was looking for astronauts—and for the first time was allowing women to apply. Sally didn’t hesitate to send in her application, and became one of six women selected as part of the new crop of astronaut candidates. On June 18, 1983, she soared into history as the first American woman in space.