NASA History June 18 , 1983 , file photo - Sally Ride , First American woman in space
Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951) is an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut who in 1983 became the first American woman to reach outer space. . She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982). At the time, she was the youngest American to enter outer space. She was married for a time to NASA Astronaut Steve Hawley.