Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman to travel into space, died on Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to her organization, Sally Ride Science, in San Diego. She was 61.


Ride, a physicist, blasted off in the U.S. space shuttle "Challenger" on June 18, 1983.


"Sally's historic flight into space captured the nation's imagination and made her a household name," Sally Ride Science said in a statement.