Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died on Monday at her home in San Diego. She was 61.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, her company, Sally Ride Science, announced on its Web site. Dr. Ride, a physicist, flew on the shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983, and on a second mission in 1984. She was also, at 32, the youngest American in space. Dr. Ride later became the only person to sit on both panels investigating the catastrophic shuttle accidents that killed all astronauts on board — the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Columbia crash in 2003.
PS Most people didn't realise it until her death, when it appeared in her obituary, but she is survived by her partner of nearly three decades, a woman with whom she co-authored a book and who was involved in the company she founded. My thoughts go out to her and all of those close to Sally. Pancreatic cancer is a rough way to die, and I'm sure it's been an emotional time for those close to her.