This June, celebrate how you can shine like Sally Ride.

Join the National Air and Space Museum for Sally's Night to explore the wonder of our universe and shine the light on women in STEM. Attend in person events, use the Sally's Night Celebration Guide, full of activities for the whole family, to join the celebration from wherever you are, and share on social media how you #ShineLikeSally.

Sally Ride lived her life with extraordinary energy, passion, curiosity and joy. All astronauts lead exciting lives, but some are larger than life even before they reach for the stars. Whether in the classroom or on the tennis court, in the lab or on the launch pad—it was clear from the start that Dr. Ride would reach great heights. 

Each June we mark the anniversary of one exciting episode of Sally’s extraordinary life—the first night she looked back at Earth from space and experienced the special exhilaration and joy that energy, focus, and passion can bring to those who reach for the stars. Early interests and clear role models can lead to excellence in any field—particularly science, technology, engineering, and math, where not even the sky's the limit.

This June, in celebration of this anniversary, we invite everyone, everywhere to join Sally’s Night. Celebrate and share what about space and science brings you energy, passion, curiosity, and joy. Whatever your passion, whoever you are, tell us how you #ShineLikeSally on social media and use our celebration guide to explore space and science with your family and friends.

Celebrate Sally's Night From Anywhere

We invite everyone, everywhere to join Sally’s Night. Learn about women and underrepresented genders in STEM and share what about space and science brings you energy, passion, curiosity, and joy. Whatever your passion, whoever you are, tell us how you #ShineLikeSally on social media and use our celebration guide to explore space and science with your family and friends.

Celebration Guide

The 2023 Sally's Night Celebration Guide contains information about Sally's Night, Sally Ride, and women in STEM, and features hands-on activities you can use to discover, celebrate, and share what about space and science brings you energy, passion, curiosity, and joy.

Whatever your passion, whoever you are - tell us how you are inspired, how you explore, and how you share space and science on social media using the hashtag #ShineLikeSally.

Celebration Guide in English

Guía de celebración en español

Women in STEM Across America Interactive Map

Learn about the contributions of women in STEM, past and present, from every U.S. state and territory in this interactive map.

Explore the Map

Sally's Night Virtual Exhibition

The Sally's Night Virtual Exhibition features artifacts and archival materials representing the stories of women and underrepresented genders in STEM, submitted by Smithsonian Affiliates and other cultural organizations from across the United States.

View the Virtual Exhibition

Celebrate Sally’s Night and dance along with us to our Sally’s Night playlist!

Who Was Sally Ride?

Dr. Sally Kristen Ride was a physicist, astronaut, educator, and advocate for young people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Best remembered as the first American woman in space, Ride’s tenure as an astronaut was but one chapter in a long and impactful career.

As a high school student at Westlake School in Los Angeles, Ride excelled in the classroom and on the tennis court, where she was captain of the tennis team. She studied at Stanford University for eight years, earning bachelor’s degrees (1973), and a master’s degree (1975) and doctorate (1978) in physics.

Ride was accepted to the astronaut corps in 1978 as a member of Astronaut Group 8—NASA’s first astronaut class to include women. On June 18, 1983, when Dr. Sally K. Ride became the first American woman in space, she challenged long-held stereotypes about who would make a good astronaut. Ride spent more than two weeks in space over the course of two missions, STS-7 and STS-41G. Ride operated one of the Space Shuttle’s most important tools—the robotic arm—and loved taking photos of Earth from space.

When Ride retired from NASA in 1987, she dedicated herself to educating and inspiring learners. For more than 18 years she taught physics at the University of California San Diego. In 2001, Ride founded Imaginary Lines (now Sally Ride Science) with her partner, Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, to inspire girls and young women to explore science careers. 

Learn More About Sally Ride

A signed portrait of astronaut Sally Ride from the Sally K. Ride Papers. 

Jacket, Flight, Sally K. Ride Object Telescope, Bushnell Sky Rover, Sally Ride Object Badge, Star Trek Communicator, Sally Ride Object Tennis Racquet, Sally Ride Object

Shining a Light on Women in STEM

As a learner and an educator, Sally understood the power of role models to inspire young people to explore their own interests and talents. Meet these inspiring role models who shine through science. Let us know who inspires you on social media using #ShineLikeSally! 

Mae Jemison: Astronaut and Physician

Dr. Mae Jemison has earned many titles during her vibrant scientific career: engineer, doctor, Peace Corps officer, teacher, and astronaut. In 1992, Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space. She flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour and during the mission she conducted life science experiments.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt: Astronomer

Henrietta Swan Leavitt measured the brightness of variable stars over time. She became fascinated with how many variable stars she could find in the Magellanic Clouds. After many years studying these stars she discovered something called the period-luminosity relationship that unlocked a way for astronomers to calculate distances to other galaxies.

Madhulika Guhathakurta: Heliophysicist

Dr. Lika Guhathakurta studies the Sun, how it works, and how it affects the solar system through space weather. She is a scientist, mission designer, instrument builder, director, manager, and teacher — sometimes all in a single day!

Mary Golda Ross: Engineer

Mary Golda Ross (Cherokee) performed classified research on aircraft and rockets in Lockheed’s Skunk Works Division. She helped write NASA’s Planetary Flight Handbook, a guide to space travel in the solar system.

Alma Thomas: Artist

Alma Woodsey Thomas was a Washington, DC-based artist who was active in the 1960s and 70s. Her work was often inspired by current events, including the Apollo Moon landings.

Sharon Caples McDougle: Spacesuit Technician

Sharon Caples McDougle was the first Black woman at NASA to serve as a spacesuit technician and crew chief. She suited up Mae Jemison, and led the first all-women team of spacesuit technicians in support of the STS-78 mission.

Kalpana Chawla: Astronaut

Kalpana Chawla flew on STS-87, becoming the first Indian-American woman in space, and on STS-107, which ended in tragedy 20 years ago when Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry and the crew was lost.

Nichelle Nichols: Actress and Advocate

Nichelle Nichols played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek (1966). She was an inspiration to many, not just for her groundbreaking work on Star Trek but also through her work with NASA to recruit women and people of color to apply to become astronauts.

Jerrie Cobb: Aviator

Jerrie Cobb was a pioneering aviator and participant in the Lovelace Women in Space program, a short-lived, privately-funded project testing women pilots for astronaut fitness in the early 1960s. She was also a successful barnstormer and ferry and corporate pilot, and served as a missionary pilot in the Amazon.

This project received Federal support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum.