Good-bye, Sally Ride. America’s first female astronaut died today, at age 61, after a battle with cancer. When she flew on board Challenger in 1983, Ride was also NASA’s youngest astronaut to have made it to space.
Ride is also known as the only person who publicly supported Roger Boisjoly, the Morton-Thiokol engineer who tried to warn NASA that Challenger was in mortal danger, only to be overruled by his bosses. Boisjoly himself died earlier this year, at age 73.
The world’s first female astronaut, or rather, cosmonaut, is still alive: Valentina Tereshkova is 75 this year, seemingly in good health (judging by her appearance in recent press photographs). May she enjoy many more happy years!