First Female Astronaut Sally Ride Dead at 61

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America is mourning the loss of its first female astronaut Tuesday. Sally Ride died Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Nearly 30 years ago, Ride became the first American woman to travel into space.

At just 31 years old, she was tapped to travel on the Space Shuttle Challenger and twice made the journey into space.

It all started when she saw a help-wanted ad from NASA in her college newspaper.

The San Diego physicist became a trailblazer for women in science, and she spent her life inspiring generations of young girls to do the same.

"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," President Barack Obama said at the news of Ride's passing.

"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," he said.

A statement on the Sally Ride Science website called Ride "fearless."

"Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment and love," the statement said. "Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless."

Ride was 61 years old.

Related Link:

Sally Ride Science

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