By Susan Young , FashionnStyle Reporter | Jul 24, 2012 04:51 AM EDT
Sally Ride, the youngest and first U.S. woman in Space died Monday at the age of 61.
Space was known as a man's world until Sally Ride appeared. She gave astronomy a whole new dimension and opened many doors for women interested in the same field.
Ride, born May 26, 1951, in southern California, earned degrees in physics and English from Stanford University. She applied to be an astronaut at U.S. space agency NASA in 1977, after seeing an ad in her university's student newspaper. It was the first time the space agency had allowed applications from civilians -- or from women. Ride was one of 35 people, including just six women, chosen from a pool of 8,000 applicants.
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U.S. President Barack Obama called her a "national hero and a powerful role model" who "inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars."
"Sally's life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come," he said, in a statement offering condolences to Ride's family and friends.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement Ride "literally changed the face of America's space program" and that "the nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers, and explorers."
Tweets have been pouring in on twitter offering tributes and kind words to Ride. One tweet reads. "I was seven in the summer of 1983. Sally Ride was simply everything," read one. Another declared: "RIP Sally Ride -- you inspired me to believe that, as a female, anything was possible. May your journey to the stars be swift.
"The impact of Sally Ride and women like her cannot be overestimated," said Amy Mainzer, an astrophysicist who is a principal scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada-Flintridge. "She was an 'existence proof,'" Mainzer told The New York Times. "She proved that it was possible to work in space physics and as a space scientist and be female at the same time. What she did was prove that you could make it all the way to the top and accomplish amazing things in these fields - and still have a pair of ovaries."
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