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Sally Ride dies at 61

7:12 AM, Jul 24, 2012   |    comments
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Dr. Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman to travel into space, speaks to the media at the San Diego Aerospace Museum February 7, 2003 in San Diego, California. Ride died on July 23, 2012 after a bout with pancreatic cancer. (Getty Images)

(WXIA) -- America's first female astronaut, Sally Ride died Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to her website,

When she flew on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983, she became America's first woman in space. Prior to her shuttle missions, she worked as part of the team that developed the robotic arm used on NASA's shuttles.

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In 1987, Ride left NASA to work with Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control. By 1989, Ride had joined the University of California San Diego as a professor of physics.

Ride formed Sally Ride Science in 2001, a firm that works with school age children and focuses on attracting more girls to the sciences.

She was a part of the Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board formed by NASA in 2003 to investigate the ill-fated flight of the Columbia.

Sally Ride was 61 years old.

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