Sally was born in Los Angeles in 1951. She joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have travelled to space, having done so at the age of 32.
She quit NASA in 1987 after flying twice on the space shuttle Challenger. Afterwards, she worked for 2 years at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control. Later, she also worked as a professor at University of California, San Diego.
She was the only person who served on the both committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters.