Not Past It - Bitch, I’m an Astrophysicist

0:04

Wow, what a beautiful night sky, I just love stargazing.

Don’t you producer?

Julie Carly?

I sure do just gorgeous.

Holy crap.

Did you just see that shooting star?

0:21

Quick?

Make a wish?

Okay?

Okay.

I’m Jiminy cricketing.

Have you ever thought about traveling to space?

No, honestly, gravity is done.

Um so much for me in my community, but I do love a good space person.

Especially Sally Ride, you know.

0:37

Her.

Yeah.

First American woman in space, right?

0:52

Sure, but that’s not even the half of it.

She basically saved the space program and had the greatest Cottage core Romance of all time.

Ah, which she felt like she had to keep on the down-low because she was with a woman.

1:09

Ah, yeah, fucking NASA.

I talked all about it with that very woman Tam.

O’Shaughnessy, you know, after Sally died, she kind of left me with the responsibility of and it was a gift of deciding how I was going to talk about us and who I was to her.

1:30

And also NASA was not going to protect Sally’s Legacy.

That sounds like we’re gearing up for an epic space romance, but I feel like I need more context more details.

Where do we start?

Well, with the theme song, of course.

1:48

From gimlet media.

This is not passed it a show about the stories.

We can’t quite leave behind every episode.

We take a moment from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our world.

I’m Simone pollen on nine years ago.

2:07

This week on July 23rd, 2012.

Dr. Sally, Ride passed away and we’re bringing you her real life story to do.

So.

I’m handing off the mic to my You start Julie Carly.

Yes, I’m bringing you.

The story of America’s first woman to go to space and all the crap.

2:25

She had to Wade through with that title and we’ll take a look at what it really means to be the first at something all that starts in T-minus 5, 4 3 2 1.

2:51

Welcome, welcome to the spaceship.

Not past it.

I’m your captain Julie Carly.

And today we’re going to learn all about the one and only dr.

Sally Ride as the first American woman in space.

Sally, didn’t just break the stratospheric glass ceiling, she blasted through it.

3:09

And when she came back to Earth, that of course, is President Barack Obama.

Speaking to us from 2013.

He was awarding.

Dr. Sally Ride the presidential medal of freedom, but Sally had died.

The year before so someone else accepted on her behalf Tam O’Shaughnessy accepting on behalf of her life partner.

3:29

Dr. Sally, K ride.

Tam O’Shaughnessy, since Ali’s death, Tam’s been carrying forward the legacy of Sally’s life, a life.

They shared together for 27 years, you know, it’s the sweet story and it happens to be true.

3:50

The story starts in Southern California, Sally, grew up in Encino with her parents, Dale, and Joyce and younger sister bear growing up.

She loved playing sports.

She was an athlete.

Either, she was a very good tennis player as a young girl and a teenager.

4:08

And it was at a tennis tournament When Sally and Tam first laid eyes on each other.

They were about 12 or 13 at the time.

It was a boiling summer day.

In the early 1960s with kids Milling around the courts.

We had our little white tennis outfits on.

4:25

We had our little wooden tennis rackets and our little hats and all this sort of stuff that I just waiting to check in.

She noticed a blonde.

Girl, a few people in front of her.

She was standing on her toes and it just made me laugh.

A second.

What is she doing?

4:42

You know, because it was for like, a long time up on her toes and it just turns out that, that’s how she walked.

That’s how she ran, not all the time.

But a lot of the time So Sally was walking around these hot escorts, looking like an adorable Velociraptor and eventually the two got to talking.

5:05

Anyway, we became fast friends and just really enjoyed spending time together.

And when I was playing tournaments in La, I go over to her house in between matches and would play ping pong and eat ice cream.

Then after high school in the fall of 1969, they went their separate ways.

5:29

Sally went off to college.

While Tam started playing tennis professionally.

I decided to try competing on the first women’s professional tennis tour, the one that Billie Jean, King started the Virginia Slims circuit, so we didn’t see each other for a few years.

5:47

And just so, you know, Tam was really fucking good at tennis like her headband Could Kick Your On the court.

All with love though.

That’s a tennis pun, by the way.

But seriously, she was actually ranked 52 in the world, went to Wimbledon and ended up winning a few national titles.

6:11

Four years later, Sally and Tam would cross paths again, when they were both living in the Bay Area Tam was riding the women’s tennis Association newsletter.

While Sally was in grad school at Stanford.

And so, I was just thrilled that we kind of re-established, our friendship again and would go running in the Hills by Stanford and play tennis and go out to eat.

6:33

Just have a really good time.

And soon enough Sally would see an ad that would change her life, you know, the famous scene of her reading, the Stanford student newsletter and seeing that NASA was hiring women and scientists into the astronaut Corps for the very first time and you know, she basically had an aha moment.

6:58

Sally was fascinated with space long before she ever read about it in the student newsletter.

Here’s an interview.

She did with NASA and I still remember to this day our elementary school teachers wheeling in those big old black and white TV sets into the classroom so that we could see the very early space launches, and the recoveries and early flights were on the minds of everybody in the country.

7:24

So it was the coolest thing fast.

Through the years to 1978 even cooler than watching on TV was the prospect of going up to space herself.

So when Sally saw the ad inviting women to join the astronaut Corps, she knew what she had to do.

7:43

Sally was one of eight thousand applicants for the class of 1978, only 35 people were chosen, six of which were women.

The Press called them Astro Nets, astronauts.

I mean, really, and there really was a sense that having a woman in this Macho culture would really be bad for the culture and they would crash the planes and the rockets.

8:09

This is Lynn sherr a former ABC correspondent and author of Sally ride’s biography.

And the reason they had this Jazzy name was that NASA wasn’t too keen on women.

In space, though.

They did make exceptions before Sally flew.

8:25

There had been three females and they were to spy.

There’s and a monkey.

The attitude was well, if a woman can do this, maybe I’m not as good as I think I am.

So there was this Cowboy culture, Cowboy culture is a nice way of saying, what was going on at NASA.

8:43

It was a total sausage fest from top to bottom.

There was one time though back in 1960 where women were considered for space flight.

It was based off of a very dumb idea that women might actually be better ass.

Astronauts because they were smaller literally smaller fit better and cramped spaces, smaller.

9:07

The privately funded project was canceled a year later and that was the end of women in space for a long time until the class of 1978.

When Sally and the other women join the astronaut Corps, she moved to Houston and began her training which included water survival parachute jumping.

9:28

Flying lessons.

And a lot of studying per training has left little time with her husband fellow astronaut.

Steve Hawley, whose own first mission is scheduled for next year.

Dr. Rod.

Yep.

That’s right.

In 1982.

Sally, married a fellow astronaut.

9:45

There’s isn’t the usual to Career marriage teachers would talk about teaching us when we talk about flight rules and flight performance, Reserves at isps and solid rocket motor performance and things like that, but it’s because we enjoy it.

After graduating astronaut School Sally began working as a capsule Communicator or Capcom.

10:06

That’s the person who talks directly with the crew in space, or maybe a used in a.

We’ve got the got the elbow camera.

Hi Mom, I’m Columbia flights two and three.

Dr. Sally Ride was the first woman to be a capsule Communicator at Mission Control in Houston.

10:24

When do I get my turn?

Her turn comes up next year?

That’s right.

Because on April 30th. 1982.

Sally was chosen to be the first American woman astronaut to fly in space on the shuttle Challenger.

10:41

She’d be set to launch in June of the following year.

This exciting assignment thrust her into the spotlight.

Something that she really wasn’t prepared for Valerie.

Look right here.

Yeah.

Sally was by nature and introvert.

10:56

She was very shy and being media.

Personality was the Hang on this planet that she ever wanted to do.

That’s Sally Ride.

Biographer Lynch are again.

Here was somebody who was really happy, going through the stacks and the library sitting in her own room.

11:14

Figuring out a physics equation, figuring out how to solve a problem.

But Sally did what she had to do.

She spoke to the media about her big milestone, but I think it’s important just because it’s something that a woman hasn’t done before and it’s it’s more.

11:30

It’s that that women can do anything because Sally knew as the first American woman set to go to space being a media personality was part of the gig and boy, was it a gig?

Just listen to this question.

Dr. Ride, got it.

A pre-launch, press conference when there is a funny, a glitch or whatever.

11:50

How did you respond?

How do you take it as a human being?

Do you Do You Weep do you?

What do you do?

Why doesn’t anybody ask Rick this?

I can’t tell you, I was in that press conference.

12:07

I cannot tell you the eye rolling that went on at that point.

Most reporters were Way Beyond that.

There were a few that that just never got it.

And Johnny Carson, the late night, host on television, ran a bunch of jokes that were just frat-boy humor the day.

12:25

They had a dry run and Sally showed up.

So the five other astronauts were wearing the same outfit.

Refused to go.

I know that’s a show, but it’s a joke.

It didn’t help.

12:41

Either that NASA Engineers, tried to give dr.

Ride, 100, tampons for the one-week trip to space.

Obviously.

They were very concerned that she bleed all over Jupiter.

But that was the reality of being the first American woman in space, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, we go finally the big day arrived, June 18th. 1983 and this is the We all know about the moment that made her famous Sally Ride, goes to space.

13:18

We have main engine start, and the ignition, and liftoff family, and friends have dr.

Ride gathered in Houston, standing among Sally.

Special people to watch the launch was Tam her lifelong, tennis, buddy.

13:43

Sally recalled.

Looking back down at Earth decades later at a White House, astronomy event.

I remember looking out the window for the first time and seeing this really, really thin royal blue line going all the way across Earth’s Horizon.

It was Earth’s atmosphere.

13:59

It looked like somebody had taken just a little blue crayon and just kind of sketched all along the Earth’s Horizon and I could not believe how thin it was and when you start to think about how much we Panned on our atmosphere and just take a look at it.

See how fragile it is.

14:15

You know, it really makes you appreciate it.

When dr.

Ride landed back on to Earth.

She continued working for NASA, going to space again in 1984 and also doing tours, around America, giving speeches at elementary schools that sort of thing.

14:37

NASA really put their darling on show, here’s Tam again.

So she started getting a lot of talks around the country and Sally was not dumb person.

So she she was smart enough to pick cities around the country where she France and should come to Atlanta so that we could hang out by now Tam was living in Atlanta working on a master’s and Sally would come to visit.

15:03

It was on one of those visits when their relationship shifted.

So we were spending time together on and off and then it’s just sort of like one day, one day our relationship changed and it just seems like in a moment it became clear that we were more than friends.

15:22

Friends, and it was a sweet surprise.

Tim and Sally knew that they were in love.

There was a Steve sighs problem, though.

She loves Steve, Steve and Sally were great friends, but it wasn’t her true self, in terms of what she wanted and who she wanted to be with, and the lifestyle that she wanted.

15:50

We learned as we grow older.

So Sally and Steve divorced in 1987.

And finally after a life of friendship Tam and dr.

Ride were girlfriends.

In 1989, they moved to San Diego to work and live together.

16:10

Doctor ride took up a professorship of physics at the University of California, San Diego and Tam a newly minted, PhD in school, psychology focused on helping.

Create interventions for children with reading difficulties.

Mostly, they lived a pretty beautiful life.

16:27

So we kind of had a normal couples life in a way.

We have a lot of fun.

We ended up getting two dogs, two.

John freezes and you know, so we take them for walks and bathe them and actually one thing we love doing is reading to each other.

So we’d like pick a book.

16:44

The first one we read together was War of the Worlds and it would just take turns reading and it was just so much fun.

We loved it.

In fact, this love of reading, alongside the couple’s professional lives, drove them to start writing children’s books together all about space and the solar system and their mission was to inspire kids to get more excited about science in 2001 that same Mission motivated.

17:16

The pair to create Sally Ride science, an organization that promotes children especially girls to get involved in science and math.

She didn’t focus on being the first sheet.

Focused on expanding capabilities for girls and women, this is Barbara Barrett, former Secretary of the US Air Force, who also served on the board of Sally Ride science.

17:40

She worked closely with Tam and Sally to organize speeches, festivals, science, camp.

She did all kinds of things to cause girls eyes to light up about Science and Technology and Engineering and math and the books.

17:57

She Wrote.

The talks that she gave, she was a whirlwind of energy to advance the cause of girls and women in stem.

So this is what Tam and Doctor ride did for over two decades, grooming their dogs reading to each other inspiring.

18:20

The girls of America.

A normal couples life modest to the max, but they were pretty much keeping their romance.

A secret Sally, never brought that up in my entire time of knowing her.

I didn’t know, I did not know that Sally was gay and she clearly Chose not to tell me.

18:41

This was a conscious decision.

Tamm says, they were worried that if people knew the truth, they might lose their funding Sally Ride science was dependent on corporate sponsors like ExxonMobil and GE big brands that might not be so charitable with their money.

18:59

If they thought that two lesbians were running the company.

Tam said that keeping their relationship a secret bothered her, but she said, Sally, not so much Sally if she just wouldn’t think about, you know, our people wondering why I’m with a woman all the time.

19:18

She didn’t care and she had other things should be thinking about and it didn’t bother her to be sort of in the closet.

So it bothered me more.

Secrets to last forever.

Though, when we get back from the break, we’ll learn about a deathbed decision and what we miss.

19:35

When the only thing we ever talk about is being the first at something in America.

Stay grounded, Earthlings.

Welcome back.

19:52

Where were we?

Oh, yeah, Tam O’Shaughnessy.

And dr.

Sally Ride just made the notebook.

Look quaint.

Everything seemed to be going great for the lifelong friends.

Turn Partners, even if they did have to keep their romance, a secret for more than 25 years and then 2011 hits.

20:13

They were faced with devastating news.

Doctor ride was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

This forced the couple to reflect on their relationship.

We’d walk into doctors offices, as she got weaker, you know, would be arm and arm and then nurses and doctors would ask me who I was, you know, I’m sure my face had turned beet red or whatever and eventually, dr.

20:39

Wright said.

Fuck it Sally, you know, just finally said, you know, she’s my partner.

I think the first time she said she is my domestic partner and I think that’s the weirdest phrase of Perdon, it’s like domestic hens or you need help.

Where did domesticated cows?

20:58

Anyway, I think it was just very comforting and just like, you can breathe better. and I think there was that way for Sally to Tam and Sally had filed for domestic partnership that same year.

21:15

This granted him the right to make decisions for Sally’s health and estate Sally.

And I wanted to be as close as we could be and if we would have gotten married in a second, if we could have, but this was 2011 before gay marriage was legalized in, California.

21:34

Marriage.

Equality?

Or not Tam was clearly Sally’s.

Other half the one she wanted beside her taking care of her, the last month of Sally’s life.

We had to call in hospice and we set up a bed upstairs in our bedroom for her.

21:49

And you know, she was basically bedridden but she had her books and the TV and she started watching all these cooking shows which is funny.

She started watching the Barefoot Contessa, and then she would say, Okay Tam tonight.

Making the Contessa’s meatloaf.

22:06

And then we’re going to do a cheesecake and and should eat like two bites of it and I’d be like a pig eating.

It is delicious food.

And as they spent their last days together eating the contestants food Tam.

Had an idea, I went upstairs and I said, I want us to do a big celebration of your life and invite all of the great colleagues that have helped us over the years.

22:31

And then all of our friends, our family and She said, oh, I love it.

That’s a great idea.

But there was something else on Tam’s mind and then suddenly I’m like, wait a second.

How is this going to work in my own brain?

I was just thinking.

Who am I to to the people?

22:48

Our friends and family know were a couple but no one else does these great people that are friends colleagues, but they don’t really know the truth.

The truth was that while a select few did know about Sally and Tom’s relationship many still didn’t and so I’m told Sally that, you know, I just I didn’t know how to think about it and it was worrying.

23:10

Me and she fought for a milli second and then just looked at me and said, you decide what you think is right.

Whatever you decide is fine.

Whatever you decide with that.

Tam decided to be honest about their relationship and started planning, a party.

23:27

That was to be a celebration of Sally’s life.

23:41

But the party they were planning would never happen.

Shortly after that conversation.

Sally died at home on July 23 2012.

She was 61 a true American Pioneer died.

Today of cancer.

23:57

Sally Ride.

The first American woman to fly in space.

America’s first-ever female.

Astronaut.

She was a Trailblazer, an icon to school children of the generation.

She went on to inspire young women to consider careers in science.

Her example alone, encourage women everywhere.

24:15

To shoot for the Moon.

With Sally’s, passing Tam was ready to share their relationship with the world.

I wrote the obituaries, you know kind of that afternoon.

I think I’d already started it.

And then I add a you know, she left behind her partner of 27 years.

24:35

And that’s the part that kind of went viral and just took off.

I’m glad I did it.

Once the obituary was out in the world that variety found its way to their La, Jolla doorstep, Paparazzi swarm, their house helicopters buzzed overhead reporters rang the gate incessantly a real media frenzy, but there was one really important call that never happened.

25:02

I kind of waited for the phone call from NASA or the president or somebody to say they were going to do something to honor Sally.

First, very first American woman in space.

I got no calls instead.

25:19

NASA opted to send condolences in a press release, and here’s the kicker and then Neil Armstrong passed away.

And NASA announced that they were going to hold a National Memorial for Kneel at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

25:40

Neil died a month after Sally and now you might be thinking.

Okay, Julie, hold the phone.

Bitch.

Let’s be fair.

Neal was the first person ever to walk on the moon.

That’s some pretty fucking notable, shit.

25:57

Okay.

Yeah.

Well, may, I present to you more of the legacy of Sally fucking Ride?

Dr. Sally Ride.

Wasn’t just the first American woman in.

Space.

She saved NASA’s ass because of her American astronauts.

26:15

Still, go to space.

Let me explain.

Remember the Challenger explosion in 1986 what appears to be a major catastrophe in America’s Space Program Challenger only seconds after leaving the launch pad.

26:32

According to NASA, has exploded in midair.

No word.

Yet on, if there are any survivors.

It was the same exact shot.

Well, dr.

Ride rodent twice.

Seven people died.

They were doctor rides, friends and colleagues.

Today.

26:47

Sally Ride spoke out for the first time on her personal reaction to the accident that has halted spaceflight.

She admitted that last week’s Revelations about the flawed decision making process and the lack of Rocket testing affected her.

I was Disturbed, I think is a good way to put it.

27:05

I am not ready to fly again.

Now.

I think that there are very few astronauts who are ready to fly again.

Now, I think that we may have been misleading people into thinking that this is a routine operation, that that it’s that safe and it’s not.

And I think that that’s necessary responsibility and I’m not sure that NASA had carried out that responsibility.

27:30

And at the time, no one knew why the shuttle exploded.

It was making people including dr.

Ride question.

The very nature of space travel and so dr.

Ride stepped up to be part of the commission to investigate behind the scenes.

27:46

She received classified documents from a whistleblower detailing that there was faulty equipment, on the Challenger that NASA knew about it and that they launch the shuttle.

Anyway, she busted the investigation wide.

By providing those documents to the commission, the commission’s report re-establish trust in the space program and contributed to saving the space program as we know it.

28:13

Sally gave no fucks an icon on top of the Challenger commission.

She helped found the office of exploration at Nasa.

She set up earthkam so that kids could take pictures of the world from space.

28:30

Ace and deployed satellites including one that was eventually used to track the impacts of greenhouse gases.

So after Sally died went am didn’t receive a call from NASA.

She was pissed.

28:46

And so I basically hit the roof and I didn’t know who to call what to do.

So I put together the national tribute and the people in my company and I raise the money for it.

NASA eventually reached out to help with the national tribute, but Tamm says, they didn’t do much.

29:05

NASA was going to raise the money for it, but they didn’t.

And NASA wanted to actually have it in like, at the National Air and Space Museum one of the smithsonian’s because it holds 300 people and I said, 300 people.

Are you kidding?

29:22

We’re doing at the Kennedy Center 2,500 people and we filled the joint we filled it.

Dr. Sally Ride carries the title, as the first American woman in space.

29:41

That’s a pretty important Milestone, but that Milestone, it’s a magic trick at best.

That’s because dr.

Rides.

Big first has a fat qualifier in front of it.

She wasn’t the first woman in space at all.

29:57

She was the first American woman.

In space funnily enough, our space race Partners, the Soviets beat us to it by 20 years in 1963 Valentina Tereshkova became the actual first woman in space and in 1982 the year, before Sally launched Svetlana savitsky became the second So that qualifier American, that’s the bigger deal because when we peel back the shiny veneer first, we’re left with the truth to be.

30:35

The first is only possible as a result of centuries of discrimination and segregation and racism and all around ignorance.

That is.

So pervasive in every promise of America.

And yet there are still some things that are more important than any title.

30:58

And I learned that from Tam when she talked about Sally.

She knew.

If you could just tell the world one thing about Sally.

What would it be?

Does it have to be one thing?

How about two Sally was she was one of the most Fair people I’ve ever met, you know, treating each person that she met pretty much on equal.

31:23

And so I love that about her.

But I think the thing that I probably love the most, is it Sally was absolutely comfortable in her own skin and you could just the way she stood.

The way she looked at you, the way she sacked.

31:41

She just was, you know, she was breathing.

She was comfortable.

She wasn’t thinking ahead of some agenda of what she needed to talk about, or try to be funny or try to be clever.

Or she just was in the moment and that is a rare thing and that is wow.

32:01

It was a sight to behold.

I miss it.

I miss seeing her.

32:30

Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and zsp media next week, an old-timey bank, heist.

From one of America’s most notorious criminals, plus the extreme security measures that bank had to take in the aftermath.

32:45

There was a shotgun behind the door and everyone who was in employee, was encouraged to take target, practice on their lunch, hour, down in the basement of the bank.

This episode was produced by Julie Carly.

33:02

Our show is produced by Kinsey Clark and Sarah Craig.

Our associate producer is Jake, Maya.

Arlo are in turn, is Laura Newcombe, the supervising producer is Erica, Morrison editing by Andrea be Scott and Zach Stewart, Ponte fact-checking by Jan akkerman, sound design and mixing by Bobby, Lord, original music, by Sachs kicks, Ave.

33:24

Willie, Green, Jay blasts, and Bobby Lord.

Our theme song is Toko Liana by Coco, Co with music supervision by Liz Fulton, technical Direction by Zach Schmidt show art by Elysee Harvin.

And Talia Rahman, the executive producer at zsp media.

33:41

As Zack Stewart Ponte the executive producer from gimlet, is Abbie.

Ruzicka special.

Thanks to Rosie Garin.

Miranda Hart, Matt schulze, Lydia Pole Green, Dan Behar and Clara Sankey Emily wiedemann list Styles and Nabil, cholan pot.

33:58

And thank you for listening.

By the way.

Our voicemail is open.

We are currently on the hunt for stories about Beanie Babies.

This was when we got last week.

Hi.

My name is Hayley.

I’m live in New York City, but I’m from the Midwest and I’m telling you the story about my beauty baby.

34:19

So there was a beanie baby horse that I be obsessed with and for some reason I’ve been told all of the hair out.

So it have no main or Tail as a completely naked horse and I would carry.

34:37

It around with me everywhere.

I don’t know why but I really loved it.

Thanks.

Wow, honestly.

I kind of love that for you.

Anyways, do you have a story about a Beanie Baby?

Give us a call at six four, six five zero four nine two five to follow not past it.

34:58

Now to listen for free exclusively on Spotify and follow me on Twitter at Simone palana in.

Thanks for Hangin.

We’ll see you next week.

35:22

So Julie, what you wish for?

I wish for the end of the patriarchy.

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