First U.S. female astronaut to conquer space dies at age 61

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WASHINGTON. July 24. KAZINFORM Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman to travel to space, has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 61, the ABC television reported.

Ride died at her residence in San Diego, California, on Monday, according to her science education startup Sally Ride Science.

"Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement on Monday. "Sally's life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come."

Ride, who had earned degrees in physics and English at Stanford University, joined NASA's training program in 1978.

She flew her first mission at the age of 32 aboard space shuttle Challenger in 1983 and returned to space for a second mission a year later.

After the fatal 1986 Challenger catastrophe that claimed the lives of six U.S. astronauts and a schoolteacher, Ride served as a member of the presidential commission that investigated the accident.

She quit NASA in 1989 and joined Stanford as a professor. Her Sally Ride Science company focuses on creating science programs and publications for school children.

Before Ride, only two female cosmonauts - Russia's Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya - conquered space in 1963 and 1982, respectively.

Source: RIA Novosti

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