The Independence Day ceremony will expand the space of the presidential museum.
A statue of former NASA astronaut Sally Ride will be unveiled July 4 outside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, located west of her hometown of Los Angeles, as part of a series of monuments dedicated to women designed by director Stephen Barber.
“There are so many great female science icons that we can create,” said Barber, who also designed the bronze statue of Ride, which was unveiled in June 2022 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum of Aviation on Long Island, in the Greater New York.
Ride’s New York statue was created by Colorado sculptor brothers George and Mark Landin in collaboration with fellow artist Joey Beiner. The Lundin brothers will also be building a new statue of Ride, Barber said.
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The Lundin brothers often collaborate with Barber and have created three more space monuments. They made a statue of Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert at the US Capitol with another designer. Together with Barber, they created a monument to the three Apollo 11 crew members at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as well as a memorial to three Apollo 13 astronauts at the Houston Space Center, near NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Sally Ride was one of the first women selected by NASA in 1978 as part of a new campaign to recruit minority women and astronauts promoted by Nichelle Nichols, a black Star Trek actress. In 1983, Ride became the first U.S. woman to fly into space, and after her death in 2012, she was also named as the first known gay or lesbian astronaut.
Ride flew into space twice: on the Space Shuttle STS-7 in June 1983 and on STS-41-G in October 1984. After her career as an astronaut, Ride worked for the Rogers Commission investigating the Challenger tragedy; Today, 37 years ago, 37 years ago, the space shuttle exploded. On August 28, 1986, all seven astronauts on board died during the launch.
Then, after the space shuttle Columbia crashed on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, killing seven crew members. January 1, 2003 – 20 years ago next week – Reid also worked for the Colombian Accident Investigation Board, looking for the root causes of an incident.
(Image credit: Steven Barber via collectSPACE.com)
Historically, statues depicting people other than men have been in short supply. For example, in 2011 the Washington Post reported (will open in a new tab) a total of 394 statues of women in the United States, compared to 4,799 statues of men listed in the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum Catalog of Art Stocks at the time.
Other genders were not discussed in the report, and there are certainly legislative gaps in the representation of various ethnic groups, sexual orientations, and other aspects of humanity. Barber said that, as such, he is interested in commissioning other memorials to women astronauts. He discussed some ideas with potential people or, if they died, with their families and other connections.
Ride has recently been honored in many other forums. In October 2022, Northrop Grumman named one of its Cygnus cargo spacecraft “SS Sally Ride” after the famous astronaut. The US Navy also named a ship after her: the R/V Sally Ride.
Her legacy has also been commemorated on a US postage stamp, US quarter dollar coin, Barbie doll, Little People figurine. (will open in a new tab)a LEGO minifigure and the name of the lunar pad where two NASA spacecraft crashed into the surface in 2012, according to Space.com partner collectSPACE. (will open in a new tab).
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