BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County commissioners are asking state leaders to rename a bridge in honor of a legendary astronaut.
The plan would rename the newly constructed bridge on State Road 405, known as the NASA Causeway, to “Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Bridge.”
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The upgrade causeway connecting Titusville and Kennedy Space Center is being built next to the much shorter span over the Indian River, which FDOT said is structurally declining and has been there since 1964.
Chairperson Rita Pritchett of the Brevard County Commission wrote a letter of support to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island), which reads in part, “Naming this vital bridge the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Bridge will honor her legacy, acknowledge the history of females in space, and inspire generations o ffemales considering a career in the STEM fields.”
Ride was the first American woman to fly in space. She went to space on the Challenger shuttle in 1983, the maiden voyage for the spacecraft, which tragically exploded three years later due to a booster failure. She flew again in 1984 and deployed the first satellite in the Tracking and Data Relay System constellation.
The satellite, released by Ride into orbit using the shuttle’s robot arm, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere this past weekend and landed a few hundred miles from Alaska.
When Ride stopped working for NASA in 1987, she began teaching at the University of California in San Diego.
Assistant Dean Morgan Appel said Dr. Ride would be proud of the honor.
“I think she’s probably up there amongst the stars looking down upon us and very excited about the opportunity,” Appel said. “Especially as we are approaching the 40th anniversary of her flight.”
Ride was added to the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003, according to NASA. She died in 2012.
The bridge is expected to be finished in 2025.
Another angle of construction for this story was recorded at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel near KSC.
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