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Alan Ladwigs Remarks Celebrating Dr. Sally K.

Ride Griffith Observatory June 18, 2013 Normally, Im not a big fan of celebrating NASA anniversary events to much looking backwards and pining for the good old days. However, it is with great pleasure that I am with you all this evening to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of Sally Rides first flight as an American woman in space, combined with this celebration of her life and legacy. It was my pleasure to work with Sally on five different projects both inside and outside of NASA. Given that initially I couldnt stand her, I never dreamed we would have such a fruitful partnership. Couldnt stand Sally Ride? Whats up with that? Well, back in 1982 and 1983 when she was preparing to fly on STS, I was the manager of NASAs Shuttle Student Involvement Program, a national competition that provided high school students with an opportunity to fly their own experiments on Space Shuttle missions. By that time we had two rounds of winners from the program and I was always looking for slots on Shuttle missions to place one or two of the experiments. When I approached the STS-7 mission planners at the Johnson Space Center they replied that it wouldnt be possible. According to them, Sally Ride didnt want to have to mess with student experiments on an already busy flight. At this point I had only been at NASA for a couple of years so I assumed that information that was transmitted to Headquarters from the field centers was true. So Im thinking, what the heck? What does Sally have against fairly simple student experiments? Fast forward to 1986 in the months following the Challenger tragedy. After serving on the Presidential Commission to investigate the accident, Sally came to NASA Headquarters to lead a long-range planning task force to develop candidate strategies the Agency might pursue to maintain leadership in space in the post-Challenger era. Some of you will recall that the crew of the ill-fated Challenger mission included Christa McAuliffe, a high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire. As the manager of the Space Flight Participant Program, which also included an opportunity for journalists, I suddenly found myself as head of a program that was on indefinite hold. Dr. Carolyn Huntoon of JSC, a friend and mentor of both Sally and me thought I might assist the good Dr. Ride with the study and help her navigate through the

bureaucracy of Headquarters. After all, she was an astronaut; what did she know about bureaucracy? Carolyn introduced us and despite my three-year grudge, Sally and I immediately hit it off and she asked me to be her assistant. And so, I became her sidekick; Tonto to her Lone Ranger; Louise to her Thelma; Rhoda to her Mary! Several weeks later I worked up the nerve to confront her on the issue of experiments on STS-7. When I asked her what she had against the students and their experiments, her confused stare made it clear she had no idea what I was talking about. She assured me she knew nothing about the original request and acknowledged that frequently, if someone among the mission planning team didnt want to do something, they found it easy to blame it on one of the astronauts. We had a great time working together on the Long Range Planning Task Force. Between her guarded and somewhat introverted nature and my willingness to blab to anyone at the drop of a hat, we made for an odd couple. I like to think my humor, candor, and disrespect for authority kept her amused and sane as she tried to bring significant change and focus to the Agency. Sally did a fabulous job in leading the task force, which produced the report called Leadership and Americas Future in Space aka, the Ride Report. She organized teams from across the agency and aerospace industry to study four potential initiatives including Mission to Planet Earth; Exploration of the Solar System; an Outpost on the Moon; and Humans to Mars. She made sure the working groups had ample representation from women and younger NASA staff, a distinct difference from most commissions and study teams of the day. If youve never read the report, you ought to look it up on-line and see what we had to say. While we may have overestimated the capabilities and commitment of the space program of the then Soviet Union, the majority of the findings and the strategic approach holds up well today and numerous recommendations were implemented. A special note from the report can be found on the last page where Sally put in a special plug about the importance of education. In the highlighted section, Sally wrote: An informed public is essential to both the near- and long-term interests of the nations civil program. The public needs an appropriate base of knowledge of scientific and technological issues in order to make educated decisions on space-related goals. Additionally, todays educational system must produce the high caliber scientists, engineers, technicians, social scientists, and humanists that will actually manage the larges-scale space programs that are now envisioned. This means capturing the imaginations and interests of young people at an early stageand encouraging them to pursue studies that will prepare them to actively participate in the space program.

This from the person I was told was against student experiments! I cant help but think that the seeds for her namesake organization, Sally Ride Science, might have been planted with these words. Shortly after the release of the report, Sally left NASA for a research and teaching position at Stanford University. In announcing her departure, then Administrator James Fletcher commented: Sally departs NASA with a superb record of accomplishment for which the nation owes her a debt of gratitude. The assignment of women on crews is a routine matter based on ability and need and is no longer a cause for notice. Her career was among the most varied and productive in Agency history. It is worth noting that yesterday NASA announced eight new astronaut candidates, half of which are women. Today, 28 percent of the astronaut corps is female. Youll hear more about women astronauts during Lorettas presentation. By 1989 Sally had made her way to the University of California San Diego. After a decade at the Agency I took a break and founded a consulting capability. While at UCSD Sally hired me to assist her on a research project to review twenty-five years of public opinion polling on space issues. Following the presidential election in 1992, Bill Clinton asked Sally to join his transition team and lead the Science, Technology, and Space Cluster. Once again Sally gave me a call and asked me to be her assistant for the transition deliberations. Along with another diverse team of men, women, ethnicities, and ages, we compiled recommendations and briefing books for agencies such as NASA, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation. Being on the transition team led to an opportunity for me to return to NASA as a political appointee, but to my disappointment, Sally did not come back to the Agency. She was committed to her work at UCSD and an office overlooking the Pacific Ocean go figure. In 1995 she created KidSat, an opportunity for middle school students to direct camera images on board Space Shuttle missions. The experiment was eventually performed on five flights, yet another demonstration of her dedication to STEM education. In 1999 Lou Dobbs, formerly of CNN, coaxed Sally to leave academic life though not the west coast to serve as President of his new venture, Space.com. The start-up company intended to become THE provider of all things media on issues of space. Sally convinced me to give up the security of a government job for stock options and being on the ground floor of the exciting world of dot-coms. So once again, we saddled up for an exciting space activity.

This was a short-lived adventure. Space.com grew too quickly in staff size with an uncertain business plan. Sally bailed after about 18 months, but not before insuring that Space.coms product and information offerings included a dedicated commitment to SpaceKids. In 2001 Sally formed her greatest legacy, a company dedicated to educating, engaging, and inspiring all students. Known today as Sally Ride Science the company brings science and engineering to life through pioneering professional development, instructional solutions, and real-science investigations for students in grades 4 to 8. Through sponsorship of Science Festivals, curriculum materials, classroom sets, and teacher academies, the company promotes a message of hope and inspiration to thousands of students and teachers across this country and to other nations. I had a chance to work with her on two of the Science Festivals at MIT and George Mason University in Virginia, as well as serve as a judge for the Toy Challenges. The enthusiasm among the student participants and their parents at the Festivals was absolutely contagious. In the meantime, KidSat evolved into EarthKAM and is the longest running experiment on the International Space Station. Complete with an acronym Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students, EarthKAM has allowed hundreds of thousands of students to participate directly with the International Space Station as it orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and select geographic targets to photograph. The next mission opportunity is coming up on July 9 and will be the first to operate under the recently renamed Sally Ride EarthKAM. In 2012, EarthKAM begat MoonKAM as part of the GRAIL mission when two satellites were inserted into orbit around the Moon on a mission to investigate the gravitational characteristics, and structure of the lunar surface. After completing their mission last December, the two spacecraft were sent plunging into a mountain near the Moon's north pole. NASA named the area where the spacecraft crashed the Sally K. Ride Impact Site. Sally would have loved to travel to the Moon, but I think she would have preferred making a less spectacular and fatal impact. I last interacted with Sally in my position at NASA as head of Public Involvement. A grant from the Office of Communication last year enabled Sally Ride Science to expand EarthKAM opportunities and archives to a wider audience of students and teachers. In finalizing the details we emailed and spoke on the phone on several occasion. However, private to the end, she never mentioned her fight with cancer. The closes we came to saying goodbye was her acknowledgement that she always appreciated how much I valued her privacy and served as an unofficial screener for the numerous requests for her participation that came my way.

My last official project at NASA was helping to coordinate a national tribute to Sally that took place at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The evening featured singing, orchestras, modern dance, and moving testimonials. During the program Administrator Charlie Boldin announced the designation of the Sally Ride EarthKAM, as well as a new internship program designed for students from underserved communities. The selectees will be able to work side-by-side professional scientists and engineers. We hope they will be motivated to pursue STEM careers. Sally was also honored that evening with the announcement that President Obama was awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The President noted, We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women. Sally inspired us to reach for the stars and advocated for a greater focus on Science, Engineering, and mathematics that would help us get there. During a time when cable news shows debate if women can have it all, Sally had a lot, but she gave back even more. She achieved notoriety from her two shuttle flights, served on Presidential Commissions to investigate both the Challenger and Columbia accidents and was on the Commission for the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans, better known as the Augustine Commission. Sally served on the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and was frequently called upon to appear and participate at special events at the White House. She wrote an introductory Physics textbook for college students and along with her partner Tam OShaughnessy co-authored seven books about space for children. We co-authored a chapter on space leadership in a book called Blueprint for Space. She had the good sense to turn down an invitation to appear on Dancing With the Stars and the only commercial entity that she allowed to use the Sally Ride brand was her own education organization. I have no doubt that she would have continued to be called upon by senior leaders in government and industry to serve the nation and Im sure she would have accepted and performed with great passion, intellect, and grace. How did Sally see her legacy? She once said she would like to be remembered as someone who was not afraid to do what she wanted to do, and as someone who took risks along the way in order to achieve her goals. She did all that and more. Early next year we will all have an opportunity to learn more about our friend and colleague when Lynn Sherr publishes the approved biography on Sallys life. When asked by Parade magazine what she has learned thus far about her subject, Lynn replied, mostly Ive learned that her spot in the pantheon of

American heroes is secure. Sallys ride 30 years ago changed our world, and she never stopped trying to make it better for us, and for our children. As one of her friends said at the recent national tribute in D.C., What could make a life more special? Sally Ride was my colleague, my mentor, and my friend. And yes indeed, her life was very special and I miss her very much. #######