Sally Ride floats alongside Challenger’s middeck airlock hatch. Image Credit: NASA

The Colorado Springs-based Space Foundation says the death of astronaut Sally Ride means the loss of a truly inspiring leader.

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The nonprofit organization advocates for the space industry, and calls the first American woman in space a trailblazer and brilliant scientist.

Ride eventually went on to create Sally Ride Science, which works to encourage young children, especially girls, to consider science and math as career paths. In that, Janet Stevens with the Space Foundation says Ride’s legacy is more than just that historic flight in 1983.

“She did something really important with that opportunity to get people’s attention, and she continued that throughout her career, after she left NASA. So, she had the opportunity to go to space, and then she in many ways gave back to her nation by saying ‘I’m going to help other people get similar opportunities as well.'”

Ride also penned science books for children. She passed away Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

 

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