Northrop Grumman spacecraft named after astronaut Sally Ride

Northrop Grumman spacecraft named after astronaut Sally Ride

 October 04, 2022

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Northrop Grumman champions impressive women, and as such has named the NG-18 Cygnus spacecraft after former NASA astronaut Sally Ride.

"We’re honored to name our next Cygnus spacecraft in memory of a woman with an incredible passion for children’s STEM education, and an inspiration to people across the globe. Meet NG-18: the S.S. Sally Ride," said Northrop Grumman

As a steadfast advocate for diversity and equality in science, Sally worked to provide equitable opportunities for quality STEM education to young girls and boys across the United States.

Honoring significant contributions to human spaceflight

It’s Northrop Grumman's tradition to name each Cygnus spacecraft in honor of an individual who has made substantial contributions to human spaceflight—those who forged new paths for their successors. For the NG-18 mission, Northrop Grumman is proud to name Cygnus after a true hero to millions of people around the world—Sally Ride, America’s first female astronaut.

A remarkable career

Sally was born on May 26, 1951 in Los Angeles. As a young adult, she pursued a professional career in tennis but ultimately decided that her second passion, science, was the path she wanted to take.

Sally earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and English, as well as a master's degree and PhD in physics, from Stanford University.

In 1978, Sally became one of the 35 astronaut candidates selected from more than 8,000 applicants to join NASA’s Astronaut Group 8. She served as the first female CAPCOM (capsule communicator), the astronaut on earth that communicates with the crew members in their spacecraft. In 1983 she became the first American woman to fly in space for STS-7, the Space Shuttle Challenger’s second mission. Her second foray into space came in 1984 for the STS-41-G mission.

After her retirement from the astronaut program, Sally and her partner Tam O’Shaughnessy founded Sally Ride Science, a nonprofit aimed at improving STEM literacy for children. Sally passed away on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61. In 2013, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.

Northrop Grumman is honored to name the next Cygnus spacecraft in celebration of the life and legacy of astronaut Sally Ride.

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