NASA 'hero' Sally Ride honored with sculpture
[Mar 9, 2022: Luana Munoz]
Statue in honor of Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space. The unveiling is planned for June in front of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, N.Y. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)
While we watch the modern-day achievements of those involved in space exploration, it's important to never forget those who went before.
Among those heroes is Sally Ride.
Documentary filmmaker Steven Barber has been on a mission to commemorate NASA's heroes like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Then it dawned on him, there wasn't a single monument highlighting NASA's women.
"In fact, in America, only 2% of the monuments represent any sort of female achievement which is crazy because you guys give us all life, right? I think we can do a little better,” Barber said.
Barber quickly raised $300,000 for a sculpture dedicated to Sally Ride. Ride was the first American female astronaut to head into space from the Kennedy Space Center in 1983 and then again in 1984.
On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. (CREDIT: NASA)
Barber has been filming everyone involved with Sally's story and the process of her monument coming to life.
George Lundeen and his team have been working on the sculpture for the last year.
"I remember when she went up into space, and I remember the challenges she had both before and afterward with all the things she did,” Lundeen said.
Challenges like serving on the investigation team that analyzed the Challenger disaster of 1986 which exploded shortly after liftoff.
And in her personal life, she represented a very marginalized group in society. She was gay. Something that was known among NASA's inner circle but didn't surface until after her death.
Despite her small stature in real life, the gold and bronze sculpture of Sally will stand at 7-feet tall and will be placed in the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island in New York.
"My great hope, and I think this will happen, is that now I'm looking into diversity. I've been speaking to May Jenisen, the first Black woman in space. I'm speaking to Guy Blueford. He's given me the rights to build his monument as the first African American in space. It is my great hope that diversity will reign supreme once Sally is up,” Barber said.
Sixty-five women have flown in space and 12,000 of them worked for NASA.
The sculpture's unveiling will take place June 17 in front of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, N.Y..
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Note: Materials provided above by Luana Munoz. Content may be edited for style and length.
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