Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space

The cover of Lynn's Sherr's book about Sally Ride called "Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space." 

Credit: Simon & Schuster

Lynn Sherr, the author of the recently-released biography, "Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space," paid tribute to the late astronaut Thursday (Oct. 2) on the allegedly, satirical, US news program "The Colbert Report."

The nearly 7-minute interview covered everything from the Space Race to Ride's unique place in history as NASA's first female astronaut.

Colbert started the interview by asking Sherr why NASA didn't prioritise getting women into space when the Russian space agency had sent two women to space before Sally Ride flew to orbit for the first time in the 1980s.

"NASA didn't think that women were a priority," Sherr replied.

"First there was the race to get to the moon … but before Sally Ride flew, the only three females NASA had flown were two spiders and a monkey."

Ride flew to space during a NASA shuttle mission for the first time in 1983. She died at 61 in July 2012 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Ride is the first known lesbian astronaut, a fact that was never revealed by NASA.

It was only after her death that it was revealed she was gay and had a long standing partnership with Tam O'Shaughnessy, a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and childhood friend.

O'Shaughnessy was also a science writer and, later, the co-founder of Sally Ride Science and now serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board of the organisation.

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