24 Jul 2012

Death of US female astronaut

1:48 pm on 24 July 2012

Former astronaut Sally Ride, the first US woman to travel into space, has died of pancreatic cancer.

Ride, 61, a physicist, blasted off in the space shuttle Challenger in June 1983. She flew in two space missions, logging nearly 350 hours in space.

However, her third planned mission was grounded in 1986, after the Challenger explosion that killed all seven crew members.

She retired from NASA in 1987.

Her organization, Sally Ride Science, says her flight into space captured the nation's imagination and made her a household name.