Sally Ride quotes:

  • No, I think most astronauts recognize that the space shuttle program is very high-risk, and are prepared for accidents.

  • Science is fun. Science is curiosity. We all have natural curiosity. Science is a process of investigating. It's posing questions and coming up with a method. It's delving in.

  • Studying whether there's life on Mars or studying how the universe began, there's something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. That's something that is almost part of being human, and I'm certain that will continue.

  • But even in elementary school and junior high, I was very interested in space and in the space program.

  • After the Challenger accident, NASA put in a lot of time to improve the safety of the space shuttle to fix the things that had gone wrong.

  • I liked math - that was my favorite subject - and I was very interested in astronomy and in physical science.

  • I think it's important for little girls growing up, and young women, to have one in every walk of life. So from that point of view, I'm proud to be a role model!

  • The experience of being in space didn't change my perspective of myself or of the planet or of life. I had no spiritual experience.

  • When the space shuttle's engines cut off, and you're finally in space, in orbit, weightless... I remember unstrapping from my seat, floating over to the window, and that's when I got my first view of Earth. Just a spectacular view, and a chance to see our planet as a planet.

  • On a standard space shuttle crew, two of the astronauts have a test pilot background - the commander and the pilot.

  • We can see cities during the day and at night, and we can watch rivers dump sediment into the ocean, and see hurricanes form.

  • The pressure suit helps if something goes wrong during launch or re-entry - astronauts have a way to parachute off the shuttle. The suits protect you from loss of pressure in case of emergency.

  • Some astronauts sleep in sort of beds - compartments that you can open up and crawl into and then close up, almost like a little bedroom.

  • When you're getting ready to launch into space, you're sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen.

  • I've discovered that half the people would love to go into space and there's no need to explain it to them. The other half can't understand and I couldn't explain it to them. If someone doesn't know why, I can't explain it.

  • The space shuttle is a better and safer rocket than it was before the Challenger accident.

  • For whatever reason, I didn't succumb to the stereotype that science wasn't for girls. I got encouragement from my parents. I never ran into a teacher or a counselor who told me that science was for boys. A lot of my friends did.

  • It takes a couple of years just to get the background and knowledge that you need before you can go into detailed training for your mission.

  • Then during the mission itself, I used the space shuttle's robot arm to release a satellite into orbit.

  • My background is in physics, so I was the mission specialist, who is sort of like the flight engineer on an airplane.

  • The view of Earth is spectacular.

  • There are aspects of being the first woman in space that I'm not going to enjoy.

  • Yes, I did feel a special responsibility to be the first American woman in space.

  • The women's movement had already paved the way, I think, for my coming.

  • But when I wasn't working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth.

  • The stars don't look bigger, but they do look brighter.

  • The fact that I was going to be the first American woman to go into space carried huge expectations along with it.

  • I was always very interested in science, and I knew that for me, science was a better long-term career than tennis.

  • I had both male and female heroes.

  • It takes a few years to prepare for a space mission.

  • All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.

  • Even though NASA tries to simulate launch, and we practice in simulators, it's not the same - it's not even close to the same.

  • Everywhere I go I meet girls and boys who want to be astronauts and explore space, or they love the ocean and want to be oceanographers, or they love animals and want to be zoologists, or they love designing things and want to be engineers. I want to see those same stars in their eyes in 10 years and know they are on their way!

  • The food isn't too bad. It's very different from the food that the astronauts ate in the very early days of the space program.

  • I didn't really decide that I wanted to be an astronaut for sure until the end of college.

  • Different astronauts sleep in different ways.

  • The astronauts who came in with me in my astronaut class - my class had 29 men and 6 women - those men were all very used to working with women.

  • Once you are assigned to a flight, the whole crew is assigned at the same time, and then that crew trains together for a whole year to prepare for that flight.

  • I slept just floating in the middle of the flight deck, the upper deck of the space shuttle.

  • So most astronauts getting ready to lift off are excited and very anxious and worried about that explosion - because if something goes wrong in the first seconds of launch, there's not very much you can do.

  • It's easy to sleep floating around - it's very comfortable. But you have to be careful that you don't float into somebody or something!

  • There are lots of opportunities out there for women to work in these fields, ... Girls just need support, encouragement and mentoring to follow through with the sciences.

  • I do a lot of running and hiking, and I also collect stamps - space stamps and Olympics stamps.

  • I find myself looking around for other new, interesting opportunities to dive into.

  • I don't have any nicknames.

  • Rocket science is tough, and rockets have a way of failing.

  • If we want scientists and engineers in the future, we should be cultivating the girls as much as the boys.

  • I suggest taking the high road and have a little sence of humour and let things roll off your back. I think that's very important.

  • I think eventually private enterprise will be able to send people into orbit, but I suspect initially it's going to have to be with NASA's help.

  • The rockets light! The shuttle leaps off the launch pad in a cloud of steam and a trail of fire.

  • My parents must have done a great job. Anytime I wanted to pursue something that they weren't familiar with, that was not part of their lifestyle, they let me go ahead and do it.

  • So most astronauts are astronauts for a couple of years before they are assigned to a flight.

  • Because I was a tennis player, Billie Jean King was a hero of mine.

  • I did not come to NASA to make history.

  • One thing I probably share with everyone else in the astronaut office is composure.

  • I've spent my whole life not talking to people, and I don't see why I should start now.

  • For a long time, society put obstacles in the way of women who wanted to enter the sciences.

  • Anything from making a mistake on an experiment that would ruin some scientist on earth's experiment - career, potentially - to doing something wrong with the satellite that a country was depending on for its communications, to making some mistake that could actually cost you and the crew either a mission or your lives. So there is a lot of pressure that's put on every astronaut to just make sure that he or she understands exactly what to do, exactly when to do it, and is trained and prepared to carry it out.

  • Astronauts will remain the explorers, the pioneers-the first to go back to moon and on to Mars. But I think it's really important to make space space available to as many people as we can. It's going to be a while before we can launch people for less than $20 million a ticket. But that day is coming.

  • Eventually private enterprise will be able to send people into orbit, but I suspect initially it's going to have to be with NASA's help. Whether it's going to be a consortium or one entity remains to be seen. I could be wrong. I could be one of the old fogies! Rocket science is tough, and rockets have a way of failing. It happens. A company has to be willing to bear the risk of its rocket failing. It's a very large capital investment.

  • Ever been to Disneyland? That was definitely an E ticket!

  • For quite some time, women at NASA only had scientific backgrounds.

  • I can't remember a single time [my parents] ever told me not to do something I wanted to do.

  • I felt very honored, and I knew that people would be watching very closely, and I felt it was very, very important that I do a good job.

  • I have a lot of common sense. I know what needs to be done and how to approach it. I have an ability to work with people on large enterprises.

  • I have been a bit of a risk-taker all my life.

  • I haven't written my memoirs or let the television movie be made about my life.

  • I love the John Glenn model... I may call NASA in 25 years or so, and see if they'd like to send me to Mars.

  • I never went into physics or the astronaut corps to become a role model. But after my first flight, it became clear to me that I was one. And I began to understand the importance of that to people. Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can't be what you can't see.

  • I think maybe it's too bad that our society isn't further along and this is such a big deal. I think it's time...that people realize that women in this country can do any job they want to do.

  • I would like to be remembered as someone who was not afraid to do what she wanted to do, and as someone who took risks along the way in order to achieve her goals.

  • If it wasn't for the women's movement, I wouldn't be where I am today.

  • If they asked me if I wanted to go into space tomorrow, I'd do it in a heartbeat. On the other hand, if they asked me if I wanted to go into training for three years and then go into space again, I'd probably say no.

  • It was a real honor for me to get to be the first woman astronaut. I think it's really important that young girls that are growing up today can see that women can be astronauts too. There have actually been a lot of women, who are astronauts, that that's a career that's open to them.

  • It was hard to become an astronaut. Not anywhere near as much physical training as people imagine, but a lot of mental training, a lot of learning. You have to learn everything there is to know about the Space Shuttle and everything you are going to be doing, and everything you need to know if something goes wrong, and then once you have learned it all, you have to practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice until everything is second nature, so it's a very, very difficult training, and it takes years.

  • It's no secret that I've been reluctant to use my name for things.

  • It's too bad our society isn't further along.

  • It's well known that many girls have a tendency to dumb down when they're in middle school.

  • NASA has to approve whatever we wear, so there are clothes to choose from, like space shorts - we wear those a lot - and NASA T-shirts.

  • On both of my flights, everything went very well.

  • Our future lies with today's kids and tomorrow's space exploration.

  • So I decided on science when I was in college.

  • So I saw many planets, and they looked just a little bit brighter than they do from Earth.

  • Suppose you came across a woman lying on the street with an elephant sitting on her chest. You notice she is short of breath. Shortness of breath can be a symptom of heart problems. In her case, the much more likely cause is the elephant on her chest. For a long time, society put obstacles in the way of women who wanted to enter the sciences. That is the elephant. Until the playing field has veen leveled and lingering stereotypes are gone, you can't even ask the question.

  • That's something that is almost part of being human and I'm certain that will continue.

  • The best advice I can give anybody is to try to understand who you are and what you want to do, and don't be afraid to go down that road and do whatever it takes and work as hard as you have to work to achieve that.

  • The most anxious time was during launch, just because that is so dramatic.

  • The most important steps that I followed were studying math and science in school. I was always interested in physics and astronomy and chemistry and I continued to study those subjects through high school and college on into graduate school. That's what prepared me for being an astronaut; it actually gave me the qualifications to be selected to be an astronaut.

  • The thing I'll remember most about the flight is that it was fun. In fact, I'm sure it was the most fun that I'll ever have in my life.

  • The view of earth is absolutely spectacular, and the feeling of looking back and seeing your planet as a planet is just an amazing feeling. It's a totally different perspective, and it makes you appreciate, actually, how fragile our existence is.

  • The view of earth is spectacular from space. Most people imagine that when astronauts look out the window of the shuttle they see the whole earth like that big blue marble that was made famous by the flights that went to the moon. But the shuttle is much, much closer than those astronauts were. So we don't see the whole planet, the whole ball at once, we just see parts of it.

  • There's a huge amount of pressure on every astronaut, because when you get right down to it, the experiments that are conducted on a space flight, or the satellites that are carried up, the work that's to be done, is important and expensive work, and you are up there for a week or two on a Space Shuttle flight. The country has invested a lot of money in you and your training, and the Space Shuttle and everything that's in it, and you have to do things correctly. You can't make a mistake during that week or two that you're in space.

  • Three Secrets to Success: Be willing to learn new things. Be able to assimilate new information quickly. Be able to get along with and work with other people.

  • We need to make science cool again.

  • Weightless is a great equalizer.

  • Well, we spend an awful lot of our time working and doing experiments. It's very busy up on the shuttle.

  • When you can feel that close to something you're used to seeing from this great distance, well, it changes a person.

  • You can picture pretty easily if there were a paying passenger aboard a rocket that failed, like Challenger failed. Certainly it would be a tragedy, and a tragedy for the company. They would have a hard time recovering from it.

  • You know, I go around the country a lot.