WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Sally Ride Becomes First American Woman In Space 40 Years Ago in 1983
By Space Coast Daily // March 20, 2023
Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983
(NASA) – Forty years ago, in 1983, the Space Shuttle Challenger and the STS-7 crew launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. With the launch, Mission Specialist Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly in space.
The STS-7 crew, the first five-member crew, deployed two communications satellites and conducted experiments from the Shuttle Pallet Satellite.
Ride, shown above floating in the Challenger flight deck, later described the launch as “exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming all at the same time.”
When the Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983, Ride became the first American woman to fly in space, and the third woman overall.
She also became the youngest American astronaut in space, although there had been younger cosmonauts.
Many people attending the launch wore T-shirts bearing the words “Ride, Sally Ride,” lyrics from Wilson Pickett’s song “Mustang Sally.”
The purpose of the mission was to deploy two communications satellites: Anik C2 for Telesat of Canada and Palapa B1 for Indonesia. Both were deployed during the first two days of the mission.
The NASA History Program is responsible for generating, disseminating, and preserving NASA’s remarkable history and providing a comprehensive understanding of the institutional, cultural, social, political, economic, technological, and scientific aspects of NASA’s activities in aeronautics and space.