President Obama announced Monday his intent to bestow a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, whose obituary revealed was survived by her female partner of 27 years.
"We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women," said President Obama in a statement. "Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there. Sally showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I look forward to welcoming her family to the White House as we celebrate her life and legacy.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, bestowed upon individuals "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to a press release from the White House. The release noted that the White House informed Ride's partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy, and Ride's mother and sister about the award last week. The award will be presented at a ceremony at the White House later this year.
In December, NASA intentionally crashed a pair of twin satellites into the surface of the moon, and named the crash site after Ride, in recognition of her numerous contributions to NASA's Grail project and science in general.