Object of the Month
Sally Ride’s Helmet

Sally Ride's Helmet


Image Credit: Gift of Tam O'Shaughnessy, Courtesy National Air and Space Museum.


This aviator helmet belonged to Dr. Sally K. Ride, who became the first American woman in space when she flew on the STS-7 shuttle mission in 1983.

A physicist with a Ph.D., Ride joined the astronaut corps in 1978 in the first class of astronauts recruited specifically for the Space Shuttle Program. Ride also served in several NASA leadership positions, including as a member of the Rogers Commission after the Challenger accident in 1986. After she left NASA in 1987, she taught first at Stanford and later at the University of California, San Diego, where she also served as the director of the California Space Institute. From 2001 until her death in 2012, she was president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she founded to promote science education.

Ride’s partner, Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, donated this helmet to the National Air & Space Museum in 2013.