Navy Commissions Research Ship Named After Astronaut Sally Ride

The 238-foot ship honors the memory of astronaut Sally Ride, who was also a professor, scientist and innovator at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego

The U.S. Navy will commission a research ship Friday named after late astronaut Sally Ride, who also worked as a professor and scientist in San Diego, and lived in La Jolla until her death in 2012.

Owned by the Navy and operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the 238-foot R/V Sally Ride is a state-of-the-art research vessel – a Neil Armstrong-class auxiliary general oceanographic research, or “AGOR” ship,” first announced by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in 2013.Traditionally, AGORs are named for nationally recognized leaders in exploration and science.

The R/V Sally Ride is designed to investigate the workings of the Earth’s oceans, and will host researchers pursuing solutions to the planet’s environmental challenges.

Once the ship is commissioned Friday at the Broadway Pier along San Diego’s Embarcadero, the ship will be open to the public for free, all-ages, self-guided tours from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The tours will allow visitors to see some of the stations and laboratories where the scientists aboard the vessel collect their data, plus the ship’s main work deck and living spaces. Visitors will also get to meet some of the ship’s crew and leaders with Scripps Oceanography. To get more details on those tours offered this Sunday, click here.

Ride, who lived in La Jolla until her death in July 2012, was the first American woman in space as part of NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger crew. She was also a member of UC San Diego’s physics faculty, and worked as professor, scientist and innovator at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The RV/Sally Ride is the first academic research ship to be named in honor of a woman. Its first scientific mission is slated for Nov. 4.

The commissioning of the vessel coincides with the opening of a pair of new exhibits at the Birch Aquarium at UC San Diego dedicated to the ship and sea research, “Expedition at Sea: R/V Sally Ride Gallery” and “A Crab's Eye View: Micro-Expedition Across a Coral Head.”

“Expedition at Sea” is all about the R/V Sally Ride and its role in the research fleet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It gives visitors a glimpse at the sights and sounds of life and work aboard a research vessel at sea via a virtual tour of R/V Sally Ride.

Meanwhile, “A Crab's Eye View: Micro-Expedition Across a Coral Head,” explores research on coral bleaching using Scripps Oceanography’s latest underwater camera technology. Both exhibits are included in Birch Aquarium admission.

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