First US woman in space, Sally Ride, dies at 61

(Photo: Getty Images file)

The first American woman to go into space, Sally Ride, died Monday after a 17-month battle against pancreatic cancer, her company said.

Ride made history in 1983 as a crew member on the space shuttle Challenger, breaking the gender barrier for U.S. spaceflight. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963, but it took another 20 years for NASA to follow suit.

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