Two updates below.
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She blasted off aboard Challenger, culminating a long journey that started in 1977 when the Ph.D candidate answered an ad seeking astronauts for NASA missions.
In this June 1983 photo provided by NASA, astronaut Sally Ride, a specialist on shuttle mission STS-7, monitors control panels from the pilot’s chair on the shuttle Columbia flight deck.
Ride died today in La Jolla, Calif. after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her company said on its website.
Her company website, and one heck of a bio, can be found here.
Update: NASA has a nice bio and photo tribute.
Update II: Planetary Society president Bill Nye’s statement on Sally Ride.
RIP, Sally Ride.