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Sally Ride became the first American woman in space 36 years ago today

50 years after the launch of Apollo 11, NASA is emphasizing the role of women as it prepares for its next mission to land the first female astronauts on the moon.

Posted: Jul 10, 2019 1:00 PM
Updated: Jul 10, 2019 1:00 PM

It's been 36 years since the world witnessed a giant leap for womankind. June 18th marks the 36th anniversary of astronaut Sally Ride's famous trip into space.

At just 32 years old, Ride was the first American woman, and the youngest American, to leave the atmosphere when she boarded the Space Shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983.

During the six-day mission, she worked as a mission specialist using the shuttle's robotic arm to deploy communications satellites.

Her career as an astronaut began as she was completing her Ph.D. in astrophysics at Stanford University.

In 1977, NASA displayed an ad in her school's student newspaper inviting women to apply for the space program, prompting Ride to send a 40-word letter asking for an application. She ended up beating out more than 1,000 other applicants, and was one of six women selected to the astronaut program.

But Ride wasn't done making history. Just one year after her historic Challenger mission, Ride traveled to space for a second time. That made her the first American woman to travel to space twice.

She was actually scheduled for a third spaceflight, but the 1986 Challenger accident ended those plans. Ride then served on the Rogers Commission as head of the subcommittee on operations to investigate the explosion.

Later on, she worked on the investigation into the accident involving the Space Shuttle Columbia, making her the only person to work on the committees for both accidents.

After leaving NASA, Ride became director of the California Space Institute, as well as a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego.

Ride was passionate about improving education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, especially for girls. In 2001, she founded SallyRide Science, a nonprofit that promotes science education programs and works to help students pursue interests in STEM fields.

She was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003.

Sally Ride passed away in 2012 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, and in 2013, was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

President Obama praised the astronaut's achievements, saying "she inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools."

He added, "Sally's life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
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Washington5218130
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Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
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Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
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Marion252678
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Adams234377
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Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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