Sally Ride managed to do what only few women did. She entered the predominantly male NASA team. She first came to space in 1983.

“She was a very exceptional lady. She was the third cosmonaut of the world or the third woman to see the universe. First American. It was on board of the STS-7 flight of the Challenger space shuttle. Then she went into the universe for the second time, again with Challenger on the STS-41 mission. She was the youngest cosmonaut when she first flew into space. She actually flew at the age of 32. And I suspect this title is hers to this date.” said Jan Sifner from Planetarium Prague.

The first expedition consisted of five astronauts, Sally and four other men. They were flying at a time when this “other world” was much less known than today.

“As the sevens say, the STS-7 flight was the seventh flight of the space shuttle, when everyone tried what the shuttle can do, what can be done with it. She was on board as a flight specialist. There were five astronauts aboard.”

The mission was successful and they managed several assignments during the mission.

“Her task together with cosmonaut Fabian was to launch two satellites ANIK C2 and PALAPA B1. They were both communication satellites. And then they were trying to work with the shuttle arm, the manipulator, because they put the satellite in the orbit, for a while if flew with the shuttle, then they caught it with the manipulator, returned it to the cargo compartment and landed together with it.”

But her life journey once again crossed paths with the Challenger space shuttle. In 1986 when it exploded shortly after start.

“There were problems with sealing of one auxiliary rocket engine. The main engine fuel tank was burned and the shuttle exploded after start. Of course it was a huge misfortune. An investigative commission was appointed, and Sally Ride was in the investigation commission. It is said she was very shaken by what happened. Especially because she actually flew in the space shuttle twice before. On the other hand, all flights into the universe bring a certain risk and we need to accept that.” he add.

In 1997 she ended her career at NASA. She began to pursue teaching young students physics at the University of California. She wrote a number of books and in particular supported the interest of girls in technical sciences. Sally Ride died of cancer in the 1960s.

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