Pioneering astronaut Sally Ride died Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61.
Ride was born in Encino, Calif., on May 26, 1951, to Dr. Dale Ride, a political science professor, and Joyce Ride, a former teacher. Education was always important in the Ride household, and it came in many forms.
Sally Ride is best known as the first American woman in space but her travels started at age 9 when she, her sister Karen and parents traveled Europe for a year.
She also loved sports, especially tennis which earned her an athletic scholarship at a private high school. For a time, she was ranked 18th in the country as a junior player. She went on to Swarthmore College where encouragement from Billie Jean King led Sally to put school aside to focus on a professional tennis career.