BIRTHDATE AND PLACE: Born May 26, 1951, in Encino, California. Daughter of Dale Burdell Ride, a political science professor at Santa Monica Community College, and Joyce Hoyce Ride, a counselor at a women's correctional institution. Attended West Lake School for Girls and she rated eighteenth nationally on the junior tennis circuit.
EDUCATION: Began college career at Swarthmore College. Received Bachelor of science in physics; bachelor of arts in English; master of science and doctorate of philosophy in physics from Stanford University.
EXPERIENCE: Ride was selected straight from graduate school for the first group of shuttle astronauts. She became the first American woman to fly in space on shuttle mission STS-7 in 1983 and flew again on STS 41-G. Ride was preparing for her third mission when the Challenger exploded in 1986. She was appointed to the Presidential Commission charged with investigating the accident. In 1986, she moved to NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she became Assistant to the NASA Administrator for Long-Range Planning. Ride created NASA's "Office of Exploration" and produced a report on the future of the space program, "Leadership and America's Future in Space". Ride retired from NASA in 1987 to become a Science Fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University. After two years, she was named Director of the California Space Institute and Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego.
PERSONAL: Ride married NASA astronaut Alan Hawley in July of 1982. They had no children and were divorced in 1987.
Manned five crew. Deployed Anik C2, Palapa B1; deployed and retrieved SPAS platform. Payloads: Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA)-2 experiments, deployment of PALAPA-B1 communications satellite for Indonesia with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D and Telesat-F communications satellite for Canada with PAM-D, German Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS)-01, seven getaway specials (GAS), Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR), Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES).
Manned seven crew. Deployed ERBS; performed high resolution Earth imagery. Payloads: Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) deployment, Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA)-3 experiments, Large Format Camera (LFC). First use of Orbital Refueling System (ORS) with extravehicular activity (EVA) astronauts, IMAX camera. In response to the American Strategic Defence Initiative and continued military use of the shuttle, the Soviet Union fired a 'warning shot' from the Terra-3 laser complex at Sary Shagan. The facility tracked Challenger with a low power laser on 10 October 1984. This caused malfunctions to on-board equipment and discomfort / temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.
Planned TDRS/IUS deployment shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster.