WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), who represents Silicon Valley in Congress, issued the following statement Monday on the death of former astronaut Sally Ride:

“Today our nation lost a true hero in Sally Ride, who passed away after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. My deepest condolences and prayers go out to Sally’s family and friends.

Sally Ride

“She embodied the American pioneer spirit as the first American woman in space and in her later years as a champion for science, engineering, math, and technology (STEM) education through her organization Sally Ride Science. As a former science teacher, an educator for 30 years and a STEM advocate in Congress, Sally Ride’s passion and commitment to STEM will be dearly missed.

“She empowered and inspired generations of young women to push for their dreams, reminding all of us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and no barriers we cannot break. Her spirit and energy will continue to live on in the hearts of the millions she inspired.

“I pledge to continue her work here in Congress on STEM education, so that her legacy endures for years to come.”

Ride joined NASA in 1978 and was a crew member of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 and 1984. Following the destruction of the Challenger in 1986 — an accident that took the lives of seven crew members, including Ellison Onizuka — Ride was named to the presidential commission that investigated the disaster.

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