Lynn Sherr

October 2, 2014 - Lynn Sherr 10/02/2014 Views: 14,483

"Sally Ride" author Lynn Sherr discusses the life and legacy of NASA's first woman in space. (6:38)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,EVERYBODY. MY GUEST TONIGHT IS

A JOURNALIST WHO'S BOOK ISCALLED "SALLY RIDE: AMERICA'S

FIRST WOMAN IN SPACE." SHEREALLY SHATTERED THE GLASS

STRATOPHERE. PLEASE WELCOME LYNNSHERR!

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )LYNN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

COMING ON.

NICE TO MEET YOU.

>> GOOD TO BE HERE YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE AN EMMY ANDPEABODY-AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST

AND AUTHOR.

YOU SPENT OVER 30 YEARS AT ABCNEWS.

YOU COVERED THE NASA SPACEPROGRAM FROM 1981 TO 86, AND YOU

BECAME FRIENDS WITH ASTRONAUTSALLY RIDE AND YOU HAVE A NEW

BIOGRAPHY OF SALLY RIDE, YOURFRIEND, "AMERICA'S

FIRST WOMAN IN SPACE."

>> I DO.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

>> Stephen: WHAT YEAR WASSALLY RIDE THE FIRST WOMAN IN

SPACE?

>> 1983.

>> Stephen: 1983.

THE RUSSIANS HAD ALREADY BEATENUS TO THE PUNCH.

>> TWICE.

>> Stephen: TWICE.

>> TWO RUSSIAN WOMEN HAD ALREADYGONE UP, ONE IN '63, AND ONE IN

'82.

>> Stephen: HOW COME IF WEWERE IN A COLD WAR WE LET THE

RUSKIES BEAT US WITH THE SPACELADIES.

>> WHAT A GOOD QUESTION.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU, IT'SWHAT I DO FOR A LIVING.

WHY DID WE NOT PRIORITIZE THISTHE SAME WAY RUSSIA DID?

>> NASA DIDN'T THINK WOMEN WEREA PRIORITY.

FIRST THERE WAS THE RACE TO GETTO THE MOON-- BOO IS RIGHT.

BUT BEFORE SALLY RIDE FLEW, THEONLY THREE FEMALES NASA HAS

FLOWN WERE TWO SPIDERS AND AMONKEY.

WOMEN WERE IN THE LOWEST PAYINGJOBS IN NASA, AND BY THE TIME

NASA GOT AROUND TO RECRUITINGWOMEN, WHICH WAS 1976, THE REST

OF THE COUNTRY HAD PRETTY MUCHFIGURED THAT OUT ALREADY, BUT

THEY GOT THERE.

AND ONCE THEY GOT THERE, THEYWENT FOR IT.

SO IT HAD BEEN A MEN'S CLUB OF,A WHITE MEN'S CLUB, AND THEN

ALONG CAME THEIR RECRUITMENT FORWOMEN AND MINORITIES AND THE

WORLD CHANGE.

>> Stephen: WELL, WHITE MEN'SCLUB WAS THERE FOR A WHILE BUT I

GOTTA SAY, I DO ADMIRE WHATSALLY RIDE DID.

HOW LONG WAS SHE IN TRAININGBEFORE SHE WENT INTO SPACE?

>> WELL, SHE GOT TO NASA IN1978.

SHE WAS IN TRAINING AND NAMED ASTHE FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN TO FLY

IN 1982.

AND SHE FLEW IN 1983.

SO HE HAD ALL THAT TRAINING ANDTHEN SHE HAD ONE YEAR OF REALLY,

REALLY INTENSIVE TRAINING RIGHTBEFORE SHE FLEW.

>> Stephen: WHAT DOES THATMEAN, REALLY INTENSIVE TRAINING?

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO?

WHAT WERE THE PHYSICALREQUIREMENTS?

WERE THERE SOME PHYSICAL THINGSTHEY THOUGHT WOMEN COULDN'T DO

THAT YOU HAD TO DO FOR SPACESPACE?

>> EVERYTHING.

>> Stephen: WOMEN CAN FLOATUPSIDE DOWN, I WOULD IMAGINE

THAT.

>> THEY CERTAINLY CAN.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO THEY HAVETO DO?

>> THE SAME THING THE MEN DO.

>> Stephen: I DON'T KNOW WHATTHOSE ARE, EITHER.

>> THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE INTHE TRAINING.

THE MEN AND WOMEN TRAINEDEXACTLY ALIKE.

THEY HAD TO LEARN HOW TO JUMPOUT OF A PARACHUTE --

>> Stephen: HOPEFULLY OUT OFA PLANE BUT IN THE PARACHUTE.

JUMPING OUT OF THE PARACHUTE ISVERY TOUGH.

THAT IS VERY TOUGH TRAINING.

>> BUT, YOU KNOW, THE ASTRONAUTSARE VERY SMART, SO-- THEY HAD TO

DO WATER SURVIVAL TRAINING.

HAD TO LEARN HOW ALL THE GADGETSAND ALL THE SWITCHES IN THE

SHUTTLE, WHAT IS GOING ON, HOWTO MAKE IT WORK.

>> Stephen: DID HER NAME HELPIN THE CHOOSING PROCESS?

FOR NASA?

HER NAME IS SALLY RIDE.

WAS SHE UP AGAINST LIKE EMILYSIPKOWITZ.

>> HERE'S WHAT IS AMAZING, HERREAL NAME IT'S RIDE FAMILY NAME

GOES BACK ABOUT 400 YEARS INENGLAND.

NO, HER NAME ACTUALLY DIDN'THAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT.

>> Stephen: DIDN'T HELP ATALL?

NASA DIDN'T LIKE IT?

>> NO.

>> Stephen: IT LOOKED GREAT ONA PUBLICITY RELEASE.

>> YOU'RE RIGHT.

I'LL ASK.

I'LL DOUBLE CHECK THAT.

>> Stephen: PLEASE DO, PLEASEDO.

>> Stephen: IT WAS REVEALED INHER OBITUARY, THE LAST LINE OF

HER OBITUARY-- TELL THE PEOPLETHE LAST LINE OF HER OBITUARY.

>> IT WAS THAT SHE WAS SURVIVEDBY HER SISTER AND HER MOTHER AND

HER PARTNER OF 27 YEARS, TAMOSHAUGHNESSY.

>> Stephen: NOT EVERY OBITUARYHAS A PLOT TWIST RIGHT AT THE

END.

IT'S REVEALED THAT SHE HAD BEENA LESBIAN.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: THE ENTIRE TIME ORDID SPACE DO THAT TO HER?

BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT HAPPENEDWITH THE FANTASTIC FOUR.

THE COSMIC RAYS-- THE COSMICRAYS AND THEY GOT ALL FANTASTIC.

( LAUGHTER )( APPLAUSE ).

>> WELL, IT'S KIND OF A MIXEDSTORY.

BUT SHE GOT TOGETHER WITH TAM IN1987.

>> Stephen: SO AFTER GOING TOSPACE.

>> AFTER GOING TO SPACE.

>> Stephen: OKAY, YES, ALLRIGHT.

>> AND, YOU KNOW, IT WAS ADIFFERENT TIME.

THE WORLD WAS THEN NOTACCEPTING, LET ALONE RECOGNIZING

SAME-SEX COUPLES, AND SALLYCHOSE TO KEEP IT PRIVATE.

SHE WAS A VERY PRIVATEINDIVIDUAL.

>> Stephen: NO BIOGRAPHIES, NOMOVIES ABOUT HER.

>> NOTHING IN HER LIFETIME.

AND THIS ONLY CAME ABOUT BECAUSEHER PARTNER WANTED THE BIOGRAPHY

DONE AFTER SALLY DIED.

SALLY DIED IN 2012 AT THE AGE OF61, TWO YEARS AGO.

SHE NEVER-- I SPOKE TO HER MANYTIMES ABOUT IT.

SHE WAS A VERY CLOSE FRIEND, ANDSHE NEVER WANTED A BIOGRAPHY, AN

ADULT BIOGRAPHY.

THERE ARE A LOT OF KIDSBIOGRAPHIES OUT THERE.

BUT SHE NEVER WANTED A GROWN-UPBIOGRAPHY.

AND I THINK PART OF IT WAS SHEWAS PROTECTING NASA.

SHE DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE NASAHAVE TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF

DEALING WITH A WOMAN WHO WASGAY, WHO HAD BEEN IN SPACE.

>> Stephen: DID SHE SEEHERSELF OR DID SHE FEEL HER ROLE

WAS AN ICON OF SCIENCE OR OFFEMINISM?

BECAUSE BOTH OF THOSE FRIGHTENME.

( LAUGHTER )I DON'T UNDERSTAND THEM.

I DON'T UNDERSTAND THEM.

>> YOU KNOW WHAT, I HAVE TOTELL, YOU WOULD HAVE REALLY

LIKED HER.

>> Stephen: WOULD I?

>> YOU WOULD HAVE REALLY LIKEDHER BECAUSE THE ANSWER IS BOTH.

SHE FELT BOTH AS A FEMINIST ANDSCIENTIST.

SHE BELIEVED WOMEN COULD DOANYTHING.

SHE GREW UP WITH PARENTS WHOBELIEVED WOMEN COULD DO

ANYTHING.

BUT SHE ALSO BELIEVED SCIENCEWAS GOING TO SAVE THE PLANET.

WHEN SHE WAS UP IN SPACE, SHELOOKED BACK AT EARTH, SHE SAW

WHAT SHE CALLED THE SAN ROYALBLUE LINE OF THE EARTH'S

ATMOSPHERE, SUCH A FRAGILESITUATION.

WITHOUT THAT ATMOSPHERE, WEWOULDN'T BE HERE.

SHE WOULD SOMETIMES CALL IT ASTHIN AS THE FUZZ ON A TENNIS

BALL-- SHE WAS A TENNIS PLAYERAS WELL.

AND SHE DEVOTED HER LIFE INLARGE PART TO MAKING SURE THAT

WE PROTECT THE PLANET AND SHEWANTED GIRLS, ESPECIALLY YOUNG

GIRLS, TO STUDY SCIENCE SOTHAIBD DO THAT.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

>> Stephen: WELL, THE BOOK IS"SALLY RIDE: AMERICA'S FIRST

WOMAN IN SPACE."

LYNN SHERR, THANK YOU SO MUCHFOR BEING HERE.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).