The United States Navy’s first academic research ship to be named for a woman will be christened after NASA’s first female astronaut to fly in space.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced Friday (April 12) the next ocean-class auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) ship will be named the R/V Sally Ride.
“As secretary of the Navy, I have the great privilege of naming ships that will represent America with distinction as part of the fleet for many decades to come,” Mabus said in a statement revealing the names of seven ships, including the Sally Ride. “These ships were all named to recognize the hard working people from cities all around our country who have contributed in so many ways to our Navy and Marine Corps team.”
Mabus named the future R/V Sally Ride in memory of the astronaut, who also served as a professor, scientist and innovator at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California in San Diego. Scripps will operate the R/V Sally Ride when it enters the Navy’s fleet in 2015.
Ride, 65, died on July 23, 2012, to pancreatic cancer.
She made history when she lifted off with the STS-7 crew on space shuttle Challenger in 1983. The first U.S. female astronaut to fly into space, she was only the third woman worldwide to reach orbit, following two Soviet cosmonauts, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982.
What this article doesn’t mention is that Sally Ride was a lesbian, and it is also significant that a US Navy vessel is named after a gay person, two years after DADT is repealed.