On This Day In History 6/18

Sally Ride on the deck of Challenger during mission STS-7 in 1983.

Sally Ride on the deck of Challenger during mission STS-7 in 1983.

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, launched from Cape Canaveral aboard the shuttle Challenger as part of the crew of STS-7.

The five-person crew deployed two communications satellites and conducted pharmaceutical experiments. Ride was the first woman to use the robot arm in space and the first to use the arm to retrieve a satellite.

7 thoughts on “On This Day In History 6/18

  1. In today’s Times it said that Big Bird was slated to go on the shuttle but was too big of a pay load. The shuttle being Challenger.

  2. We don’t get to count Mr. Sulu because he didn’t go into space until the 23rd century CE.

  3. Well, that might not be the only reason we couldn’t count him as the first gay American in space.

    We could start with the fact that the character is not American. Next, it’s not safe to assume the character is gay.

    The Wikipedia’s absolutely authoritative entry about Hikaru Sulu lists him as having as many as two daughters — one shown in a canonical TV series, the other appearing in non-canonical works:

    Star Trek Generations introduces Hikaru’s daughter, Demora Sulu, whose origins are also depicted in Peter David’s non-canon novel The Captain’s Daughter.


    The non-canon fan production Star Trek: New Voyages episode “World Enough and Time” starred Takei as Captain Sulu on the Excelsior recalling a time on the original Enterprise when a transporter accident caused him to come back thirty years older and with a daughter, Alana. Demora also appears in this episode, as well as Hikaru’s granddaughter

    Not that having children definitively rules out anything. I knew a president of LASFS in the 1980s who was a gay man who had fathered a child. And adoption is another possible explanation. Of course, it’s also possible Sulu is straight.

  4. Sulu has always been depicted as being straight in my observation (and I’ve been watching Star Trek shows and movies since 1967.)

    It comes down to: George Takei is gay, Hikaru Sulu is straight.

    Rock Hudson was gay, yet played a straight man in every single film he was in.

    The actor is not the role.

    Dr. Ride was in a heterosexual marriage to another astronaut, and they divorced some years later before she quietly moved in with her partner.

    As the Fifth Doctor said to the Tenth, “Dose the Master still have that rubbish beard?”

    Ten replied, “No — well, a wife.”

    I look forward to the day when having to make these distinctions is irrelevant.

Comments are closed.