Pioneering astronaut Sally Ride will appear on a limited-run US quarter

It’s not just countries like Canada paying tribute to space exploration on their currency. The US Mint has unveiled the first coins in its American Women Quarters Program, and one of them features the late Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman astronaut. The quarter depicts Ride staring down at Earth, as she was fond of doing during spare moments aboard the Space Shuttle.

The quarters will be issued between 2022 and 2025. The other quarters celebrate similar women who pushed cultural and political boundaries, including Maya Angelou (the acclaimed writer), Wilma Mankiller (an advocate for Native American and women’s rights), Nina Otero-Warren (a New Mexico suffrage leader) and Anna May Wong (the first Chinese-American Hollywood star).

Ride’s place in American history is well-established. She’s best known for smashing NASA’s gender barrier with her first Space Shuttle flight in 1983, but she also founded the agency’s Office of Exploration, led the California Space Institute and played key roles in the investigations of the Challenger and Columbia disasters. She fostered interest in space among kids, and girls in particular. Ride also broke new ground for the LGBTQ community as the first lesbian in space. It’s no surprise Ride will have a quarter, then — she had an outsized influence on spaceflight and society at large.

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