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Sally Ride Receives Posthumous Presidential Medal Of Freedom

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sally rideToo often, one’s contributions to the world don’t get their just honor until it’s too late. Sally Ride, the first female U.S. astronaut in space, was posthumously honored on Wednesday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor awarded to civilians. She was one of 16 individual honorees from a wide range of backgrounds, but she was the only one that went to space, so we’re pretty sure she had some of the best stories in the bunch whenever she was still around to tell them. Ride was 61 years old when she passed away last July due to pancreatic cancer, and she got a lot done during those years to help her earn this award, which has been given to over 500 people in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy brought them into being.

Ride’s partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, was on hand to accept the award on Ride’s behalf, and mother Joyce and sister Karen also attended the ceremony. “I think she belongs there, and I only wish that she had received the honor when she was still alive,” O’Shaughnessy told USA Today, saying that the astronaut was always more interested in getting things done rather than being applauded for her efforts. “But you know what? This is such a big honor. I think she would be quietly very pleased. You’d probably see this little grin on her face, that she thought it was a big deal, too.”

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TV Review: The Challenger Disaster Is A Surprisingly Compelling And Profound Docudrama

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I remember January 28, 1986. I was seven years old. I, like so many other excited students, gathered in the cafeteria of my school just before lunch to watch the Challenger take off. I didn’t know a whole lot about space back then, except that it was far away, huge, and mysterious, and that those qualities also made it pretty cool. I had absorbed by then, though, that going into space was Important. It was one of those adventures that has and hopefully will continue to define humankind. I also knew that on board that ship was a teacher who also happened to be a woman. This brought the mission much closer to home for me, as it did for so many people. I remember watching the liftoff and clapping along with everyone else, even the folks in NASA’s control room.

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Sally Ride Honored In National Tribute, With Posthumous Presidential Medal Of Freedom Coming

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sallySally Ride was the kind of person about whom you’ll probably never see a negative word written. A physicist, astronaut, and pioneer, Ride gave space travel to women in the early 1980s, inspiring millions by the trails she blazed. And though she died last year of pancreatic cancer, her name will live on as long as this planet keeps turning. A little less than a month away from the 30th anniversary of Ride’s first space flight, NASA and President Obama made sure of that by holding a national tribute earlier this week called “Sally Ride: A Lifetime of Accomplishment, A Champion of Science Literacy,” which was held at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

“Sally Ride Science is thrilled to be presenting a National Tribute to Sally to honor her lifelong commitment to space exploration, but also to improving science education and to supporting science literacy for all students,” said co-founder and chair member of Sally Ride Science Tam O’Shaughnessy, who was also Ride’s life partner.

It wasn’t just a one-night celebration, either. Ride will posthumously be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest award presented to civilians — later this year, and a new NASA internship program will bear her name. The Sally Ride Internship is intended to help students from less-than-ideal backgrounds get a leg up in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by allowing them to work with practicing members of the scientific community around the country.

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Sally Ride, First American Woman In Space, Dies At Age 61

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American astronaut Sally Ride died on Monday of pancreatic cancer. She was the first American woman in space and was a trailblazer for women in the American space program. She was 61 years old. Terry McEntee, a spokesperson for Sally Ride Science, said Ride died at her home in La Jolla, a suburb of San Diego. McEntee also stated that Ride was a very private person and only a small group of people knew she was sick.

In 1983, Sally Ride traveled to space in the space shuttle Challenger when she was 32 years old. Since her mission, 42 other women made the journey into space following after Ride.

“Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.