- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
Statement by Marion C. Blakey
AIA President and Chief Executive Officer
Sally Ride was a true American hero who never stopped building on the legacy of being our nation’s first woman in space. We will remember her as a pathfinder, who through her entire life’s work inspired millions of young people – most especially young women to dream big and aim high.
In 1983 Ride performed flawlessly on her first space flight during the second mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger, in which she used the Shuttle’s robotic arm to demonstrate NASA’s ability to recover and repair a broken satellite. At age 32 her status as a national hero was secure, but she continued to take on new challenges and missions. She flew again on Challenger the following year, helping to deploy the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, and supporting her astronaut classmate Kathryn Sullivan become the first American woman to conduct a spacewalk. After her career as an astronaut ended, she led the development of the 1987 report to the NASA Administrator on “Leadership and America’s Future in Space,” which today still stands as a blueprint for what our space program can and should accomplish. She also served admirably on the two commissions that examined the tragic losses of the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.
I had the honor of knowing Sally, and I was always impressed by her passionate commitment to motivate girls and young women to study science. I’m confident the organization she founded, Sally Ride Science, which has the mission of inspiring females to reach for the stars, will serve as a fitting memorial to her tremendous legacy.
Godspeed Sally Ride.