Collection Item Summary:
This numbered STS-1 Robbins medallion was owned by Dr. Sally K. Ride. STS-1, which launched in 1981 with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen, was the first orbital flight of the space shuttle. Ride has been selected for astronaut training three years prior, and she watched the launch from the backseat of a T-38 training jet. Her first flight came two years later on STS-7, with Crippen as the Commander. Imprinted on the back of the medallion is the mission emblem which was designed by artist Robert McCall, who also helped design the patch for the last shuttle mission in 2011.
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.