Mission Specialist Sally Ride as seen in a photo from June 24, 1983, as part of promotional material for the new documentary Sally. She is sitting inside a spacecraft, in a blue uniform with an American flag patch on the upper arm. She smiles broadly toward the camera, with a face mic visible by her mouth.

New National Geographic Documentary Will Showcase the Life of Space Pioneer Sally Ride

By Alison Stateman

Space buffs rejoice. National Geographic documentary films will produce a new feature dedicated to space pioneer Sally Ride—the first American woman to blast off into space, who forever changed the course of science, exploration, and women’s empowerment. As announced at the Winter 2024 Television Critics Association presentations, the new film—helmed by acclaimed director Cristina Constantini (Mucho Mucho Amor, Science Fair) and producers Dan Cogan (Icarus, Becoming Cousteau) and Lauren Cioffi (Naomi Osaka, Becoming)—will capture the remarkable life and legacy of the groundbreaking astronaut Dr. Sally Ride.

Woven together through decades of astonishing, never-before-seen archival footage, filmed both on the ground and in space, Sally (working title) recounts the authentic, behind-the-scenes story of Sally Ride and chronicles her beautiful 27-year romance with life partner Tam O’Shaughnessy, which was kept secret from the public until the day of Ride’s death. The film presents the intimate, emotional truth of her journey as a pioneer who fought to expand the limits of what America imagined was possible. For the first time, the film allows us to see the real Ride, struggling with the limits and sacrifices true heroism demands. Exclusive interviews with close friends and colleagues of Sally Ride include her life partner O’Shaughnessy (also an executive producer), Billie Jean King, and astronauts Anna Lee Fisher and Kathy Sullivan, to highlight a few.

The film was created in partnership with award-winning production company Story Syndicate (Last Call, Stolen Youth, the Oscar®-nominated The Barber of Little Rock) and in association with Muck Media (Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller, Mucho Mucho Amor, Science Fair).

“Cristina Costantini is the perfect filmmaker to tell Sally Ride’s story. Her passion for science and film and dedication to women’s equality bring depth and ethos to the project. We are thrilled to collaborate with her, Story Syndicate and Muck Media once again on this momentous project,” said Carolyn Bernstein, Executive Vice President of Scripted Content and Documentary Films for National Geographic. “Sally Ride was a bold pioneer whose legacy continues to inspire new generations of astronauts, scientists, and dreamers. This documentary will be a tribute to her accomplishments and a testament to the importance of diversity and inclusion in scientific exploration.”