On this day in 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly in space when the space shuttle Challenger launched on mission STS-7 from Pad 39A at our Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This high-angle view of the shuttle liftoff, showing a lengthy stretch of Florida Atlantic coastline and a number of large cumulus clouds, was photographed with a handheld 70mm camera by astronaut John W. Young, who piloted the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) for weather monitoring at launch and landing sites for STS missions.
The STS-7 crew consisted of astronauts Robert Crippen, commander, the first two-time space shuttle astronaut; Frederick H. Hauck, pilot; and three mission specialists — Ride, John M. Fabian and Norman E. Thagard.
One of Sally Ride’s jobs was to call out «Roll program» seven seconds after launch. «I’ll guarantee that those were the hardest words I ever had to get out of my mouth,» she said later.
Image Credit: NASA
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