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Sally Ride’s NASA Desk
The Gay Space Agency

Sally Ride's imagined desk at home in Houston, Texas circa 1986. The desk details aspects of Sally’s life outside of NASA and the public eye, including her queer identity, unwavering support for women in science, and her deep passion for space and protecting our planet. - Photos of Sally and Tam when they met as teenagers on the California tennis circuit. Billie Jean King was a close friend and mentor to both of them and her public outing was one of the reasons they chose to not publicly disclose their relationship. 

A statue of two women holding hands, inspired by one that Sally gave to Tam. 

A photo of Tam accepting Sally’s posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. 

A sprig of lavender to represent the Lavender Scare. 

A map of San Diego, where Sally and Tam lived most of their lives together.

Sally Ride U.S. quarters, released in March 2022. She is the first openly LGBTQ+ person to be featured on U.S. currency. 

An Exxon clip. One of the reasons they decided not to come out was for fear that sponsors would pull funding from Sally Ride Science, which largely promotes science education for girls. 

A note with 5/20 on it, Sally and Tam’s anniversary. 

Coffee since Sally was a caffeine addict. 

A Space Shuttle model representing Challenger, which Sally flew on for both of her spaceflights. She then served as the only woman on the Rogers Commission, which was tasked with investigating the Challenger explosion. 

Mission STS-7 patch, Sally’s first spaceflight. 

During astronaut selection, psychiatrists asked Sally which animal she would be if she was reincarnated. Her response was a dolphin. Most of the men answered stallions. 

Sally was a double major at Stanford in Physics and English and had a deep passion for Shakespeare’s writings. 

A Macintosh Plus computer, similar to the one that Sally and Tam had at their home. NASA historically uses IBM computers. 

A Mondale Ferraro pin to emphasize Sally's support of their ticket and her unwavering support for women. Sally and Tam founded Sally Ride Science to promote female science education. One of the reasons they decided not to come out was because of concerns that sponsors would pull their funding. 

The image on the computer screen is a ranking system used by NASA psychiatrists to rank a candidates’ qualifications, including their heterosexuality, during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. 

On the left is “JWST name”, representing The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). It was named after the second NASA administrator who allegedly participated in the firing of LGBTQ+ employees during the Lavender Scare. However, NASA did not find anything directly linking him, thus the name was kept.