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At one point, Ride complained, “It’s too bad this society isn’t further along and this is still such a big deal.”

She refused this reporter’s request for an interview on the 10-year anniversary of her flight, but accepted a chance at reminiscing on the 20th.

“It was a huge honor,” Ride said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2003. “On the other hand, it sure did complicate things. I’m the sort of person who likes to be able to just walk into the supermarket and not be recognized. I can do that most of the time now.”

“A lot of people recognize the name. Very few recognize my face. That’s very good,” she said, laughing. “That is very good.”

Ride was encouraging and highly supportive when astronaut Eileen Collins became the first female shuttle pilot and, consequently, commander back in the 1990s.

Collins was among the young women inspired by Ride’s courageous journey and, like so many others, were stunned to learn of her death.

Sally left us too soon,” Collins said in a statement put out by NASA. “God Speed Sally, you will be greatly missed.”



Sally Ride Science: