Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut to travel into space, died on Monday at the age of 61. She was battling pancreatic cancer for 17 months. Only a few close family members and friends knew about her disease. Sally was a role model to many women. After her first trip into space in 1983, more than 42 other American women travelled into space. In addition to being an astronaut, Ride was a physicist, professor, and writer. She wrote five children's science books, and she dedicated much of her life to educating and inspiring young people.
Ride's obituary revealed that her life-partner was a woman. Sally Ride was very private about her personal life, and I applaud her for that. She received some criticism about not coming out because people thought that she could have been an inspiration to people who were feeling confused about their sexuality. Well, there are plenty of LGBT role models out there, and I have a lot of respect for Ride for keeping her personal life out of the spotlight.
Ride received several awards during her long career. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame as well as the California Hall of Fame. There are also two elementary schools in the United States named after her. Sally Ride was an amazing person, and she inspired so many people. It's a shame that she died at such a young age. My thoughts are with her friends and family.