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Astronaut Sally Ride 'broke barriers with grace and professionalism,' says NASA (+video)

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died Monday.

Sally Ride, who in 1983 became the first American woman in space, died Monday.
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Sally Ride, who in 1983 became the first American woman in space, died Monday after a 17-month illness. 

Born in Encino, Calif., in 1951, Ride attended Stanford University, where she majored in English and physics. After completing her doctorate in physics at Stanford in 1978, she joined NASA as part of the first cohort of astronauts that admitted women. 

After training for five years, Ride was selected as one of the five astronauts who would rocket into space on the Space Shuttle Challenger’s STS-7 mission, which lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 18, 1983.

"The thing that I’ll remember most about the flight is that it was fun," Ride is quoted on the Sally Ride Science website. “In fact, I’m sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”

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