Dr. Sally Ride, Ph.D., who made history in 1983, when she became the first American woman in space, died today at age 61 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Ride was a physicist who dared to enter the all-male universe of space travel and put her name into a pool of applicants for NASA’s space shuttle program. In 1978, she won a spot over 1,000 other applicants and spent the next five years enduring NASA’s rigorous training program. Finally, on June 18, 1983, Ride made her place in history as she took off with her male colleagues aboard the space shuttle Challenger. She took one more trip on the craft and retired from the NASA program after Challenger exploded in 1986. In 2001, Ride founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, with an emphasis on urging girls to explore careers in engineering, math and science.