Computer, Dead Reckoning, Sally Ride

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This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

This TELEX E-6B dead reckoning computer belonged to Dr. Sally K. Ride. It is a circular slide rule used in aviation for calculating factors such as fuel burn, wind correction, ground speed, and estimated time of arrival. As a mission specialist astronaut, Ride was not responsible for piloting the space shuttle, but as part of her training she was expected to spend fifteen hours a month aloft in the backseat of a T-38 jet. These flights allowed Ride to practice navigation and communication procedures while also being conditioned for high-performance flight. Ride, whose previous flying experience was limited to commercial airliners, so enjoyed these flights that she took private lessons and earned her pilot license

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space when she flew on the STS-7 shuttle mission 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 in 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 accident in 1986 and the Columbia Accident Investigation Board 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 left NASA in 1987, Dr. Ride taught first at Stanford and later at the University of California, San Diego, where she also served as the director of the California Space Institute. Until her death in 2012, she was president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she founded to promote science education.

Dr. Ride’s partner, Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, donated the computer to the Museum in 2013.