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The first woman and LGBT astronaut entered space 30 years ago on Tuesday.
Sally Ride and four colleagues blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Fla., on June 18, 1983 aboard the space shuttle Challenger for a 147-hour mission. They landed six days later at Edwards Air Force Base in Kern, Calif.
Ride was a Mission Specialist aboard the second Challenger flight. She contributed to deploying satellites for Canada and Indonesia and conducting the first formation flying of the orbiter with a free-flying satellite.
Ride joined NASA as an astronaut in 1978. Throughout her life, she was an advocate for improved science education, and wrote several children’s science books and initiated projects to inspire young students.
She died in 2012 at the age of 61.
President Obama announced last month he would award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Ride later this year. The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor presented to individuals who have made meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.