The Life Theme (The Black Sun)
"Our parents encouraged us to study, to do our best, and to become anyone we would like to become. They inspired us to be curious, to open our minds and hearts and respect all people as children of God. Our parents taught us that it is necessary to investigate, and we did", sais Sally’s sister. Sally has been pursuing science, space exploration and promoting these difficult things, which she seemed to catch very easily for the whole life. Sally earned Ph.D. degree in physics at Stanford University in 1977. She was an incredibly intelligent woman, who suited a career in the space program perfectly, but she would not even thought of applying until NASA did not place an ad and did not convince her that it was great opportunity. Science has become her life theme since then and Sally lived it completely. She was infinitely energetic, curious, intelligent, passionate, joyful and full of love. She was absolutely integral, her spirit was immeasurable, and the approach to life was fearless. She always wanted to "reach for the stars".
The Sociability (The Black (Gray) Moon)
Sally Ride is really a wonderful person, an athlete, a scientist, a great friend, who could get in groove with anybody easily. When she applied to become an astronaut, there were two characteristics from her ex-boyfriends, and one from her ex-girlfriend among them. They all were praiseful. She managed to keep friendly relationships with everybody. However, she was taciturn, a person of the action, not the talk. For example, everybody found out that she was secretly seeing a Soviet astronaut only years later. Her family found out about the cancer only a few months after the diagnosis. And when the phrase about her wife, with whom they have been together for 27 years, appeared in her obituary, it was a shock for the whole America.
The Leader (The Black Mars, The Black Mercury, The White Jupiter)
Ride aspired to the position of a leader, revolutionist and pacesetter throughout her life. She had completed her eight-month training program for the third flight when the Challenger disaster occurred, and she was appointed to the Presidential Commission to investigate the causes of the collapse of the "Challenger", leading the Subcommittee on operations. After the investigation Ride was invited to NASA headquarters in Washington, where she took the lead in strategic planning, entitled by the author as "Leadership and America's future in space". Sally left NASA in 1987. They still say there that nation lost one of the best managers, teachers and researchers with her quit. She worked as a teacher and a researcher at Stanford and at California University; she was the director of the California Institute of Space Research after that.
"It is bad that the attention is focused on me" (The White Venus, The White Saturn)
She encouraged people to talk on complicated subjects, and respected those who dared to do it. She never allowed the attention connected with any achievement to be focused only on her. At her request NASA rejected all requests for licenses for the sale of posters, T-shirts and other goods, which would contain her name. She gave interviews rarely, avoided public attention and told reporters during her historic trip: "Too bad that the whole attention is focused on me", saying that they should be talking about the trip, but not about her. First of all, she inspired other people to dream big and to imagine themselves in roles, they previously could not think about. Pioneers, by the definition, are the innovators in their fields, and they make track for others, but it’s not necessarily to do it alone, and Ride proved it.
The Entrepreneur (The Black Mars, The White Jupiter)
Ride tried herself in business field, having founded the corporation to provide advisory services. She was the president and the executive director of "Sally Ride Science", the company, which was founded in 2001 to promote research among pupils with special emphasis on girls. However, in the era of pervasive commerce when space becomes only a source of income for someone, modest and smiling Sally considered herself primarily an educator of the younger generation, and a popularizer of science. Her company has been developing research programs for children, especially for girls. "When I was growing up, it considered to be cool to be a scientist or an engineer. We must make science a cool occupation again", said Ride, speaking to students at Berkeley. A student asked Sally what was like to be in zero gravity, she replied: "Imagine that suddenly nothing holds you. Imagine you rise from your seats, bumping into each other, and come up to the ceiling". Sally inspired them to have the same freedom in lives so that they could continue to do what they love and thus changed the world. "The reason that children lose interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), is not because they do not like or they do not understand these things. This is because the society sends a false idea about who scientists are, what they do and how they work. So Sally decided to use her status to motivate young people to take interest in science and to consider the possibility of building a career in STEM», - says her partner Tam. Her company provides materials for the classroom and opportunities for professional development of teachers of STEM in primary and secondary schools. She paid a great attention to gender and racial equality in classrooms as well as acquaintances with the scientists, engineers and mathematicians, who gave the examples of this diversity in their fields.
Love (The White Venus, The White Saturn)
From 1982 to 1987 Sally was married to an American astronaut Steve Hawley, but since 1985 (while she was still married to Steve), Tam Shaughnessy became her partner. She was a friend from her childhood with whom she lived happily for the last 27 years of her life. They met when they were 12 years old, played tennis together, but then their ways parted. Their roads crossed again later, possibly causing the divorce with her husband. Ride did not speak about her sexual orientation because she considered it to be a personal matter. Although she openly did not say about it, she did not try to hide it as well. Nearest and dearest knew about it, the couple went out together, attended events, and Sally’s family considered Shaughnessy to be its part. Sally was not ashamed that she was a lesbian, she just did not think it was something important. It is very likely, she expected annoying hype about this, and did not want everybody to speak about her personal life when she had a lot of many other things she wanted to share. In addition, open talks on this subject could harm the career greatly in her times. She was concerned about the consequences for NASA. Sex has always been a difficult issue for astronauts:, they were concerned that if they do not fit the stereotype of the "rightness", they would not be chosen for a spaceflight. Issues such as alcohol abuse or family problems were often concealed. Is it any wonder that the astronauts did not publicly stated that they were homosexuals? Sally never wanted a celebrity status. She wanted her legacy, her scientific and educational company to continue to live. She was concerned that their "Sally Ride Science" in such circumstances might have difficulty in raising money to support this extremely wonderful company, the purpose of which was to interest girls in science and mathematics, although, at the same time, she did not give up her relationships with the woman she loved for years.
The Scientist (The White Jupiter, The Black Mars)
Sally worked as a teacher and a multi-disciple expert on Earth. Ride inspired by personal example, enlightened younger generation, and even founded a company to produce educational materials for schoolchildren. And if you woke up Sally in the middle of the night and asked her what word would describe her best, she would say "physics" for sure. She lived in researches and loved crossword puzzles in The New York Times madly. While it may seem unusual and frivolous, in fact, her profession gives the meaning: "Science is fun. Science is curious. We all have natural curiosity. Science is the process of the research. We ask questions and find answers. It is much more important than memorizing. Memorizing is not the science. Science is to solve crossword puzzles".
The Physical activities (The Grey Moon)
Sally had a certain tendency to physical activities and she was really fond of sport. She played volleyball, softball and loved running. She also played tennis and was on the national list of young athletes. In addition, Sally had a difficult intensive training for flight, including scientific, practical and biomedical. In general, the preparation for the first flight took five years. However, despite such sporty lifestyle, Sally still could not avoid the incurable disease – the pancreatic cancer. When the spirit shoots for the stars, the body often has to suffer.