This numbered STS-7 Robbins medallion was owned by Dr. Sally K. Ride. STS-7 was historic for making Ride the first American woman in space. The medallion's design incorporates the shuttle's large robotic "arm" bent in the shape of a seven, signifying the mission number. The starburst below the shuttle uses gender symbols, four male and one female, to create a five-pointed star representing the crew members. The first photograph of a shuttle in orbit was taken during STS-7, and Ride, along with another crew member specially trained to operate the robotic arm, arranged for the arm to be seen in the photograph in the shape of a seven, the same as it appears on the medallion.
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 medallion to the Museum in 2013.