The U.S. Postal Service commemorated Dr. Sally Ride's legacy. She was one of NASA's recognizable astronauts in helping women get to space.
The 'Forever' Stamp
On Wednesday, May 23, the U.S. Postal Service released a "Forever" stamp with America's first woman in space. Artist Paul Salmon painted a portrait of Ride that showed Ride in her baby blue NASA uniform with a rocket being launched in the background. Salmon showcased the late astronaut and college professor's confidence and positivity. He also put into painting her passion for space travel.
A U.S. Postal Service spokesperson corresponded with Tech Times. They mentioned that the stamps are miniature works of art that highlight the American experience. They also noted that Ride had a significant impact on American history and culture by inspiring generations of students as a physicist, astronaut, and champion of science education.
Dr. Ride's Legacy
Ride joined NASA in 1978 as a part of the space agency's first all-female astronaut class. She was the first woman to be a capsule commander for the 1981 Columbia flight. She served as a go-between for the astronauts in space and the Mission Control leaders.
On June 18, 1983, Ride headed to outer space onboard the Challenger space shuttle. For six days, she worked alongside her male colleagues and proved that women could operate NASA missions in outer space. One year later, Ride made history again when she was one of the two women who were part of a NASA flight crew.
NASA asked Ride to bring her physics expertise when the space agency dealt with two specific tragedies. She was the only person to sit on both the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle and 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle investigations.
Ride also conceptualized with the EarthKAM project. This allowed for middle school students to connect with the International Space Station through using a camera to photograph the planet. Outside of NASA, she was a physics professor at the University of California at San Diego. She also co-founded Sally Ride Science, a non-profit organization that helped students learn about science, engineering, technology, and math education.
"Sally Ride's history-making journey has made it easier for young girls to dream one day being an astronaut, an engineer, a physicist or a mathematician. Today, girls don't just dream. Because of trailblazers like Sally Ride, they have been empowered to do," said Kristin Seaver, U.S. Postal Service Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President in a press release.
Ride received several additional posthumous honors. LEGO immortalized her and three additional NASA alumni in a unique series called the "Women of NASA." The other women that received this distinguished honor included computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, astronaut Mae Jemison, who was the first African-American woman to orbit the Earth onboard Endeavour, and Nancy Grace Roman, who played a crucial role in setting up with the Hubble Space Telescope.
In May 2015, Google posthumously honored Ride on what was supposed to be her 64th birthday with a Google Doodle. Also, on Nov. 20, 2013, then U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Ride with the nation's highest post civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. President Obama presented the award to Ride's life partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy, who accepted it in her honor.