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"While she never enjoyed being a celebrity, she recognized that it gave her the opportunity to encourage children, particularly young girls, to reach their full potential," Hawley said in a statement released by NASA.
One of Ride’s last legacies was allowing middle school students to take their own pictures of the moon using cameras aboard NASA’s twin Grail spacecraft in a project spearheaded by her company.
"Sally literally could have done anything with her life. She decided to devote her life to education and to inspiring young people. To me, that’s such a powerful thing. It’s extraordinarily admirable," said Maria Zuber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who heads the Grail mission.
Ride’s office said she is survived by Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years and a co-founder of Sally Ride Science; her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear, a niece; and a nephew.
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