The Washington Times - May 20, 2013, 05:54PM

The late astronaut Sally Ride will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, the White House announced Monday.

President Obama will bestow the nation’s highest civilian honor to Ms. Ride, the first American female astronaut, in a ceremony with other recipients later this year. The White House notified Ms. Ride’s partner, mother and sister of the decision last week.

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“We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there.”

She first traveled on the Space Shuttle in 1983, and left the space program in 1987. Later, she worked on science education with a particular focus on sex equality. She died last July of pancreatic cancer.