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The Top 10 Coolest Astronauts Ever

Sally Ride

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space (and the third woman globally, following Soviet trailblazers Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya). At 32, she became the youngest American astronaut ever to achieve spaceflight, as part of the crew of the 1983 Space Shuttle Challenger mission. When the Challenger disaster occurred in 1986, Ride was instrumental in addressing the causes, and she reprised her role as a space safety expert with 2003's Columbia disaster, becoming the only person to serve on the board of both investigations. She also payed her knowledge forward by launching Sally Ride Science, an organization dedicated to providing top-notch science education to children. Ride was also the first known LGBT astronaut, and her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy carries on her legacy as the COO of Sally Ride Science.

Tags: slideshows, life, space, nasa, space shuttle, the international space station, astronauts, space walk

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Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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