First American Woman In Space Dies At 61

Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel into space, has passed away Monday at the age of 61, the Associated Press reported.

Sally Ride

The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, according to a statement posted on the website of Sally Ride Science, a science education company she founded in 2001. She had been battling the disease for 17 months.

On June 18, 1983, Ride became the first American woman to fly in space when she blasted off on the Challenger as part of the STS-7 crew, according to NASA.

She flew her second shuttle mission on October 5, 1984, again aboard the Challenger. That mission, STS-41G, was the first shuttle crew to include two women.

After she retired from NASA in 1987, Ride became a member of the faculty of the University of California, San Diego and the California Space Institute, according to a statement posted to Sally Ride Science.

According to its website, Sally Ride Science is “dedicated to supporting girls’ and boys’ interests in science, math and technology.”

Ride is survived by her partner Tam O’Shaughnessy, as well as her mother, sister, niece and nephew.

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