Sally Ride’s Historic Spaceflight

Thirty years ago today — June 18, 1983 — the Space Shuttle Challenger launched from the Kennedy Space Center on an historic mission for the U.S. astronaut corps.

(Sally Ride on the shuttle flightdeck. NASA image.)

The STS-7 crew consisted of Robert L. Crippen, Frederick B. Hauck, John M. Fabian, Norman E. Thagard, and Sally K. Ride, who became the first female U.S. astronaut to fly into space.

The shuttle crew launched the Anik C-2 and Palapa B-1 communication satellites, launched and retrieved the Shuttle Pallet Satellite with its ten experiments, and performed other experiments. They spent a little over 6 days in space, and traveled about 2.5 million miles.

It’s interesting to note that the first U.S. woman in space flew only 20 years and 2 days after the first female cosmonaut. As a patriotic American, I’m more inclined to attribute that to USSR propaganda purposes than nefarious motives in our space program, but do with it what you will.

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