Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has died of cancer at age 61, her organization has announced.
On June 18, 1983, Ride was 32 when she launched aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Photos: Remembering Sally Ride
Ride, a physicist, helped develop the shuttle's robotic arm.
She was one of 8,000 people who responded to a newspaper advertisement seeking NASA applicants. She joined the space agency in 1978 and left in 1987.
"The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
After leaving NASA, Ride worked at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control, became a professor of physics at the University of California-San Diego and was director of the California Space Institute.
By Michael Winter, USA TODAY