Navy names new Scripps Research Vessel to honor the legacy of space explorer and UC San Diego Professor Sally Ride.
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the nation's newest research vessel will be named R/V Sally Ride, in honor of the former UC San Diego faculty member who was the first American female astronaut and the youngest American to fly in space. Dr. Ride was selected for NASA's astronaut corps in 1978 and became the first American woman in space aboard Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. In 1989, she joined the faculty of UC San Diego as professor of physics and was director of the university's California Space Institute. She died in July 2012 at the age of 61.
The ship, owned by the U.S. Navy, will be operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and will have its home port at the Scripps Nimitz Marine Facility in Point Loma on San Diego Bay. R/V Sally Ride is currently under construction at Dakota Creek Industries Inc. in Anacortes, Wash., and is scheduled for launch in 2015, with routine scientific operations commencing in 2016 following installation of instrumentation and sea trials.
Designed to operate globally, the new research ship will continue the Scripps legacy of conducting pioneering ocean exploration and research critical to America's understanding of the planet, the oceans, and the atmosphere. As a shared-use, general-purpose ship, R/V Sally Ride will engage in a broad spectrum of research in physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and climate science, including research missions with relevance to the Navy.
"Sally Ride's career was one of firsts and will inspire generations to come," said Mabus. "I named R/V Sally Ride to honor a great researcher, but also to encourage generations of students to continue exploring, discovering, and reaching for the stars."