NASA family honors Dr. Sally Ride on Sept. 18

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Former JSC Director Carolyn Huntoon (bottom left) and female astronauts gather to honor Dr. Sally Ride.
NASA officials and the family of deceased astronaut Dr. Sally Ride gathered on Sept. 18 in the Astronaut Memorial Grove. A live oak was dedicated in Ride’s honor and will reside among the 52 other trees dedicated to astronauts and space pioneers in the grove located at Johnson Space Center.

Ride was also fondly remembered at a gathering of fellow female astronauts and Russian cosmonaut Elena Surkova. The group attended the ceremonial tree planting at JSC and then met for lunch at a popular Clear Lake restaurant afterward.

Ride was born May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, and passed away on July 23. Renowned as the first American woman in space, Ride was an inspiration to a new generation of female explorers. A veteran of two spaceflights (1983 and 1984), she also served as a member of the Presidential Commission that investigated the Challenger accident.

Her legacy will continue to live on, as in 2001 she founded Sally Ride Science to pursue her long-time passion of motivating girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology. The company creates entertaining science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students and their parents and teachers. Ride also authored five science books for children: "To Space and Back;" "Voyager;" "The Third Planet;" "The Mystery of Mars" and "Exploring Our Solar System."

The ladies who honored Ride at lunch in the photo above include: Front row (L-R): Former JSC Director Carolyn Huntoon; and NASA astronauts Ellen Baker, Mary Cleave, Rhea Seddon, Anna Fisher, Shannon Lucid, Ellen Ochoa and Sandy Magnus. Back row (L-R): NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps, Mary Ellen Weber, Marsha Ivins, Tracey Caldwell Dyson, Bonnie Dunbar, Tammy Jernigan, Cady Coleman, Janet Kavandi, Serena Aunon, Kate Rubins, Stephanie Wilson, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Megan McArthur, Karen Nyberg and Lisa Nowak. Image credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett.

Catherine Ragin Williams
Johnson Space Center, Houston

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