Sally Ride was born in 1951 in Los Angeles, California. She attended Stanford, taking a Bachelor's in Physics and a Bachelor's in English in 1973, then a Ph.D. in Physics in 1978. She was also a nationally ranked tennis player as a young woman, but chose science over tennis as a career.
After getting her Ph.D., Ride was chosen by NASA as an astronaut candidate. She was one of six women in NASA's first class of coed trainees. She completed the one-year training course, then worked for NASA in several capacities. In 1983, she became the first woman in space as a crew member on the Challenger space shuttle.
Ride worked for NASA until 1987, at which time she took a job at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. Two years later, she became a professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. She is currently on leave from that position and is serving as the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, which creates science programs and publications for middle and high school students, particularly girls.
Ride has also written several children's books about space, including The Mystery of Mars (1999), To Space and Back (1989),The Third Planet: Exploring Earth from Space (2004), and Voyager (2005).