WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sally Ride is being remembered as a pioneer who led the way for women into space.
The astronaut died today at her home in southern California at age 61, after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Ride rode into space on the space shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983. Since then, 42 other American women flew in space.
Eileen Collins, the first female space shuttle commander, said Ride never sought attention for herself "but rather focused on doing her normally outstanding job."
President Barack Obama called her a national hero and a "powerful role model". In a statement, the president said Ride "inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars" and "fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math" in the nation's schools.