Following the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger, NASA was in disarray in terms of not having a schedule to work with, having all of its satellite launch contracts put on hold, a halt or slow down in its projects, and a desertion of key people for other work and non-government research projects. The Presidential Commission Report determined what caused the Challenger’s fate. Now, NASA had to kickstart a new future. The politics and flow of money required something big be done.
Dr. Sally Ride was appointed to generate a full scale review of NASA and to define a future for the agency that would unite political, public, congressional-budget support. Sally was NASA’s greatest public asset. Over the years she had proven to be some form of ‘SuperWoman’, working long hours, developing new methodologies and equipment, training other astronauts and demonstrating leadership and excellence in every area of her work. Dr. Sally Ride was NASA’s public face and most respected member. The fate of NASA was put in her hands.
As astrologers we often have a birth date with no birth time and an event date to work with. In this posting we will have the opposite situation; a birth date and time and location but NO EXACT EVENT DATE. Using ‘Google’ and Lynn Sherr’s book, “Sally Ride, America’s First Woman in Space”, I have not been able to pin down the exact dates of NASA’s assignment nor the exact date Sally submitted her report a year later. Yet, we can still examine appropriate charts and learn something about this whole process.
This is a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return in the 2nd house. A theme for this chart relates to solid values, pride in one’s resources, and pride. t/Moon-n/Sun-opposite-t/Saturn portrays the hard times, perceived restrictions and hard times that Sally (as a lead NASA representative) was feeling. t/Mars at the MC indicates the pressure and public loss of confidence felt by the agency.
Note also n/PoF-MC-Mercury pattern for Sally at the chart’s Ascendant. She would need to use and act upon her mental acuity and public image as NASA’s representative (N.Node).
So, we know that NASA handed this task off to Sally in August of 1986. She had a single year to complete her findings and make her report. So, what do we do in terms of a chart when we don’t know the date of her being called into an office and given this momentous task. Well we ‘Advance’ the chart day by day and find a date that looks like it fits an event of this nature. Then we study it. We learn something. If we don’t, then we check other dates. The book notes that the month of August was underway, perhaps the middle of the month would be appropriate. Yet, on advancing the chart I found the date of Aug. 5, 1986 interesting.
This chart may or may not be the date of NASA making a public announcement of Sally Ride’s new assignment, but it seems to be a likely date when Sally herself was told. By mid-august she was settled in an office in Washington, DC, away from NASA, and starting her work.
On this date the Ascendant has advanced to contact the natal PoF-MC-Mercury grouping and t/N.Node and t/PoF brackets this personal degree of action and place. Look at the opposition to t/Pluto on the Desc. angle. Her activities would impose a total transformation on the agency. n/Venus is at the IC point.
Now, we turn our attention to t/Sun-t/Moon contacting n/Asc.-n/Pluto. The transformation of the agency would mean a transformation for Sally as well.
“When it rains, it pours” is a common saying, meaning that at times of stress more than one thing arises which has to be dealt with. At this period in her life, Dr. Sally Ride was divorcing her husband of many years and taking up an affair with a girl friend. This was not Sally’s first same-sex relationship, but the divorce and a new partner at the same time she was taking on such a huge responsibility for NASA had to present overpowering difficulties to her. Perhaps this is part of the Pluto symbolism in the chart.
This t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return finds the dual lights at the IC angle of ‘starts and finishes.’ n/Pluto-n/Asc. is at the Desc. opposing n/Moon at the Asc. angle. t/Sun squares n/PoF-n/MC-n/Mercury-t/Jupiter. We don’t have to tear these patterns into pieces in order to determine their interpretive nature. The fact that the two lights and angles (both natal and transiting versions) are involved, makes this a life-milestone chart or moment.
Sally had already made up her mind to leave NASA, to return to a college/research type of environment. She was financially secure. A few speeches per year would provide all of the income she needed. Her popularity in the business, civic, academic, research and international world was such that she could find speaking engagements every day of the year.
When was the report finished, submitted. I don’t know. The report is dated “August, 1987.” I have no exact date. But this chart certainly covers the event date. We can see what Sally was experiencing. Dave.