Thirty-one years ago, Sally Ride became the first American woman — and the youngest American — to fly into space. She was a physicist who worked for NASA for nine years and flew on two space shuttle missions.
She also helped investigate two space shuttle accidents — the explosion of the Challenger in 1986 and the Columbia disaster in 2003.
Shortly after the Columbia broke apart on its return to Earth, Ride spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep about why she and other astronauts are willing to take such risks.
"There's something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. And that's something that is just, almost part of being human, and something I'm sure will continue," she said.
Sally Ride died two years ago from pancreatic cancer at the age of 61. Now, a new biography, "Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space" details the inner life and passions of America's first female astronaut.
Lynn Sherr will be speaking about her biography of Sally Ride at the Residence Inn Boston Back Bay/Fenway Thursday night, as part of The Great Fenway Park Writers Series.
- "[M]y friend had withheld certain things from me and from the world and I thought it might be interesting to see how that added to her character."
- "She thought peer pressure, especially in middle school, began driving girls away from the sciences, so she continued to set up science programs all over the country meant to appeal to girls — science festivals, science camps, science clubs — to help them find mentors, role models and one another."
This segment aired on July 31, 2014.