Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has passed away

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There is a certain amount of Geek pride and fascination wrapped up in NASA and it’s history of space exploration.

Sally Ride, who crewed the Challenger space shuttle in 1983 and became the first American woman in space, passed away today at the age of 61.

Her office in San Diego confirmed that she died from pancreatic cancer after battling the disease for 17 months.  President Obama called her a “national hero” in a statement released today.

Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sally Ride,” Obama said in a statement.  “As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model.  She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools.  Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sally’s family and friends.

Our condolences go out to her friends and family.

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