As friends and former colleagues remembered astronaut Sally Ride, who died Monday of pancreatic cancer, a common theme was the grace with which she handled the responsibility of being the first American woman to fly in space.
“She was a terribly nice person and, not surprisingly, enormously poised,” said Lynn Eden, a senior research scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, where Ride held a science fellowship from 1987 to 1989 when it was called the Center for International Security and Arms Control. “She was aware of her historic role, but she carried it lightly.”
Ride was one of six women to join NASA’s astronaut corps in 1978, and she flew on shuttle missions in 1983 and 1984. On both flights, the shuttle commander was Robert L. Crippen.
“She was the kind of person that broke a lot of glass ceilings for women back in the '80s,” said Crippen, who is retired and lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “She was a fantastic person, and we’re going to miss her very much.”