The first American man, send to space was Alan Shepard, Jr. in the year 1961. Sadly it took more than two-decade to send a woman in space. Breaking the gender barrier, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in the year 1983.
Sally Kristen Ride was more than just an astronaut, who was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles. She was a physicist and engineered as well as she became part of Stanford University and the University of California.
The ride was the third woman in space, preceded only by USSR cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982). But she is the youngest American astronaut, having done so that at the age of 32.
Her journey started when she saw an advertisement in the Stanford student newspaper about the space program. This was the first time NASA was taking women for space exploration. She applied for it and was selected for the astronaut program as a part of NASA Astronaut Group 8 in 1978.
Out of 8,000 applicants, she was one of the 35 selected people. Finally, when her training was over, on June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space. She was the member of the crew on the space shuttle Challenger for STS-7.
Flying twice to space, she left NASA in 1987 and started another exciting journey of her life. She died on 23rd July 2012 because of pancreatic cancer.
Her death was a terrible loss for the scientific community as well as for her family. But breaking the gender stereotype, she inspired millions for space exploration and also for other fields.