- Created on 12 August 2014
The US Navy has christened a ship after the first American woman in space Sally Ride. In a ceremony in Washington on Saturday, her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy said before breaking the traditional bottle of Champagne
across the bow: ”For the United States of America, I christen thee ‘Sally Ride’. May God bless this ship and all who sail in her.”
Sally Ride died in 2012 after a 17 month fight with pancreatic cancer. It was only after her death that it was revealed that she had been in a 27 year relationship with O'Shaughnessy.
Lynn Sherr, who wrote her biography “Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space,” said that there was a need to keep her sexuality a secret: “There is no question in my mind that if Sally Ride had been openly gay and if she had applied to NASA, number one, she never would have been selected as an astronaut,” said Sherr, who first met Ride while covering the shuttle program. “Number two, she never would have flown and number three, she never would have been the first American woman in space.”
Ride made history in 1983, flying with the STS-7 crew on the space shuttle Challenger, to become the first US woman into space and only the third woman worldwide to orbit the Earth.
Also in attendance at the ceremony was her sister, Dr Bear Ride, alongside Kathryn Sullivan, the first American woman to conduct a spacewalk.