CORVALLIS - Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut to go into space, will visit Oregon State University next week where she will deliver a free public lecture on the U.S. space program and visit with high school and university students.

Ride's lecture, "The Future of the American Space Program," will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, in LaSells Stewart Center, 26th Street and Western Boulevard in Corvallis. Her appearance is sponsored by OSU's University Honors College and the Convocations and Lectures Committee.

Ride, 46, was selected for astronaut training in 1978 and five years later became the first American woman in space. She was part of a five-member crew whose six-day mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger was to deploy communications satellites, and conduct materials science and pharmaceutical research.

Her second space flight, an eight-day mission in 1984, also was aboard the Challenger.

While Ride was training for a third shuttle mission in 1986, the Challenger exploded. For the next six months, she served as a member of a Presidential commission investigating the accident. When the investigation was completed, Ride was assigned administrative duties within NASA and created the agency's Office of Exploration.

Ride has written three books including "To Space and Back," a book for children describing her adventures in space. Her latest books are "Voyager: An Adventure to the Edge of the Solar System" and "The Third Planet: Exploring the Earth from Space."

She is a graduate of Stanford University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English, and master's and doctoral degrees in physics.

While at OSU, Ride will visit with students from the University Honors College as well as from Oregon high schools. Her presentation will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8, at LaSells Stewart Center. A reception at 8 a.m. will precede the event.

"Sally Ride is a role model for all students who have an interest in science and space exploration," said Joe Hendricks, director of OSU's University Honors College. "Her presentation on April 8 will give Oregon high school students a rare opportunity to interact with someone who has made historic contributions to space exploration."

The free event is open to all Oregon high school students.


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Joe Hendricks, 541-737-6400