Ride, Sally K. (Kristen) (1951-2012), a United States astrophysicist and astronaut. She was the first American woman to fly in space, being a crew member on the space shuttle Challenger flight of June, 1983.
Ride was born in Encino, California. She began to play tennis at the age of 10 and eventually became a nationally ranked player on the junior tennis circuit. Ride gave up her tennis career upon entering Stanford University, from which she graduated in 1973. She received a Ph.D. in astrophysics there in 1978. That year, Ride was accepted into the astronaut-training program. In 1986, she served on the Rogers Commission, which investigated the accident that destroyed the Challenger. Ride left the astronaut program in 1987 and later taught at the University of California, San Diego.
The first female U.S. astronaut died at age 61 from pancreatic cancer.