This Lindbergh Eagle award was given to Dr. Sally K. Ride in May 1985 to honor her achievement as the first American woman in space. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, widow of the famed aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, presented the award at a ceremony during Minneapolis' Lindbergh Heritage week. Lindbergh, who had often flown with her husband as a co-pilot, navigator, and radio operator, modestly declined the comparison made between herself and Ride as flight "pioneers," saying that Ride was more deserving of the title. Also in attendance were Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and Apollo astronauts Russell "Rusty" Schweickart and Donald "Deke" Slayton.
Sally Ride became the first American woman in space when she flew aboard STS-7 in 1983. Her second and last space mission was STS-41G in 1984. A physicist with a Ph.D., she joined the astronaut corps in 1978 as a part of the first class of astronauts recruited specifically for the Space Shuttle Program. Viewed as a leader in the NASA community, she served on the Rogers Commission after the Challenger disaster in 1986 as well as the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) in 2003. She also led the task force that produced a visionary strategic planning report in 1987 titled, “NASA Leadership and America’s Future in Space,” but known popularly as the Ride Report.
After she retired from NASA in 1987, Dr. Ride taught first at Stanford and later at the University of California, San Diego. Until her death in 2012, she was president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company that promoted science education.
Dr. Ride’s partner, Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, donated the award to the Museum in 2013.