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Sally Ride

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The Dr. Sally Ride Quarter is the second coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program. Dr. Sally Ride was a physicist, astronaut, educator, and the first American woman to soar into space.

When she blasted off aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983, Ride became the first American woman – and, at 32, the youngest American – in space. During the six days of mission STS-7, she deployed and retrieved a satellite with the shuttle’s robotic arm. Her second shuttle flight, STS-41G, made history as the first space mission with two women crew members.

After her historic spaceflight, Ride saw that her example was a powerful tool for inspiring young people, especially girls, to pursue careers in science. She teamed up with Tam O’Shaughnessy to write six science books for young people. “The Third Planet: Exploring the Earth from Space,” won the American Institute of Physics’ Children’s Science Writing Award in 1995.

To narrow the gender gap in science and engineering careers, Ride and O’Shaughnessy started an education company to inspire young people, especially girls, in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In 2001, they joined like-minded friends with expertise in physics, administration, and technology to found Sally Ride Science. One of Ride’s goals in starting the Sally Ride Science organization was to make sure girls and boys of all backgrounds had access to role models who looked like them.

Ride received many honors during her life, including induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, National Women’s Hall of Fame, and Aviation Hall of Fame.

The obverse (heads) depicts a portrait of George Washington, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday. A recommended design for the 1932 quarter, then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the familiar John Flanagan design.

The reverse (tails) depicts Dr. Sally Ride next to a window on the space shuttle, inspired by her quote, “But when I wasn’t working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth.” The inscription “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is intentionally positioned over the Earth next to America, indicating that out of all women in the United States, Dr. Ride was the first into space.

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