Sad news from NPR:
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She blasted off aboard Challenger, culminating a long journey that started in 1977 when the Ph.D candidate answered an ad seeking astronauts for NASA missions.
Ride died today in La Jolla, Calif. after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her company said on its website.
She was 61.
According to her official biography, by the time Ride decided to apply to become an astronaut, she had already received degrees in physics and English and was on her way to a Ph.D in physics from Stanford University.
According to her NASA biography, Ride went back into space in October of 1984. She was assigned to another mission after that, but it was scrapped after the shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.
(Via Charlie Martin at the PJ Tatler.)