05.22.135:38 PM ET

Sally Ride to Get Presidential Medal of Freedom

Nation’s highest civilian honor posthumously bestowed to astronaut.

The first female astronaut to fly into space is getting some much-deserved recognition from the president himself. President Obama announced he will award Sally Ride with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest national honor a civilian can get. Ride’s efforts weren’t all up in the sky: After leaving NASA in 1987, she founded an organization to benefit education programs in science, technology, education and math, focusing on gender equality in the classroom. Obama lauded her as “a role model to generations of young women.”