Ride Sally Ride! While I was growing up believing and lamenting the myth that girls could not be astronauts, Sally Ride was preparing to shatter the glass ceiling of Earth’s atmosphere. In 1983, she blasted off in the Challenger to become the first American women in space. “The thing that I’ll remember most about the flight is that it was fun; in fact, I’m sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life,” Sally said about her ride in the Challenger. She got her job at NASA in 1978 after answering an ad in the Stanford student newspaper saying that for the first time ever, women could apply to be an astronaut. She was selected from over 8000 applicants. In addition to being the first American woman in space, she still holds the record for being the youngest American in space (32), and she was the first and so-far only astronaut known to be gay. After she left NASA, she became a physics professor at UC San Diego. She received numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was only 61 when she died of pancreatic cancer. The company she founded–Sally Ride Science–continues her legacy to inspire girls to pursue STEM education and careers.