It’s no secret that I wanted to be an astronaut when I was younger. Even after the Challenger explosion happened on my 6th birthday. In fact, the only thing that killed my urge to go into space was the realization that heading into high school, I wasn’t even 5 feet tall.
Even then, I painted the Milky Way on the ceiling of my room. We painted the ceiling a dark dark blue and I took white paint, a toothbrush and a rag to create stars and the galaxy.
I made my sister help me with the intricate launch sequences for the space shuttle- I had a book with schematics for all the switches, as well as the sequences for launch and landing. Any time I could get her to help me, we’d run through it.
If it weren’t for Sally Ride, I don’t know that I would have ever considered space a possibility for me. But knowing that she had paved the way for other women, it certainly made it much more possible.
She showed me I could reach for the stars, and I could not be more grateful for that.
RIP Sally Ride.
ETA – And apparently she came out in her obituary. In the statement released by Sally Ride Science, it mentioned she was survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, the COO of SRS. And was confirmed by Ride’s sister.