Danny's Kids Page
with Danny Stricker (age 12)
Interview with 
Dr. Sally Ride, First Woman Astronaut
May, 2002
Stricker: What steps did you take to accomplish your goal of being an astronaut, and if you could give advise to anyone who wants to be an astronaut what would it be?
Dr. Ride: The most important steps that I followed were studying math and science in school. I was always interested in physics and astronomy and chemistry and I continued to study those subjects through high school and college on into graduate school. Thatís what prepared me for being an astronaut; it actually gave me the qualifications to be selected to be an astronaut. I think the advise that I would give to any kids who want to be astronauts is to make sure that they realize that NASA is looking for people with a whole variety of backgrounds: they are looking for medical doctors, microbiologists, geologists, physicists, electrical engineers. So find something that you really like and then pursue it as far as you can and NASA is apt to be interested in that profession.

Stricker: If you were asked if you wanted to go in space again would you?
Dr. Ride: Yes I would. If they asked me if I wanted to go into space tomorrow, Iíd do it in a heartbeat. On the other hand, if they asked me if I wanted to go into training for three years and then go into space again, Iíd probably say no.

Stricker: What is it like being the first woman astronaut?
Dr. Ride: It was a real honor for me to get to be the first woman astronaut. I think itís really important that young girls that are growing up today can see that women can be astronauts too. There have actually been a lot of women, who are astronauts, that thatís a career thatís open to them.

Stricker: What was going through your mind as the space shuttle took off on your first mission?
Dr. Ride: I didnít know whether I was going to be exhilarated or terrified. Actually what washed over me and what blanked out my mind was a feeling of complete helplessness, like there was so much power that there was nothing that I could do to change what was happening.

Stricker: What is earth like from looking at it up in space?
Dr. Ride: The view of earth is spectacular from space. Most people imagine that when astronauts look out the window of the shuttle they see the whole earth like that big blue marble that was made famous by the flights that went to the moon. But the shuttle is much, much closer than those astronauts were. So we donít see the whole planet, the whole ball at once, we just see parts of it. But what that means is we can see a lot of detail on the surface of the earth, so itís just a great view.

Stricker: Have you ever seen anything you could not explain?
Dr. Ride: I havenít seen anything that I could not explain on either of my two shuttle flights, no.