JEFFREY BROWN (Newshour): And, finally tonight, the legacy of Sally Ride.
Yesterday, President Obama announced he would confer the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, on a woman remembered as a pioneer in space travel and an educator and role model for women in the sciences.
It was 1983 when Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. Ride was just 32 at the time, and she said then that she thought her age was more important than her gender.
DR. SALLY RIDE, Former NASA Astronaut: I guess that I was maybe more excited about getting a chance to fly early than I was about getting to be the first woman.
JEFFREY BROWN: Ride was a physicist and one of the first six women chosen for the program. She would fly into space again a year later.
But when her flying days were over, she continued to play an important role in the space program. She served on two investigative boards that examined what went wrong in the Challenger and Columbia disasters. And after her NASA years, Ride focused on engaging young people in science, particularly girls and women.
In a 2008 video, she promoted EarthKAM, an effort to put cameras on the space station, allowing middle schoolers to take pictures from space.
SALLY RIDE: We provide a website that allows them to do all the appropriate calculations, figure out exactly when the station is going to be going over that part of the Earth, and then command the camera to take a picture at that second.