Ride died on Monday in La Jolla, California.
Once an aspiring tennis player, she went on to earn no fewer than four university degrees including a doctorate in physics.
In a statement, US President Barack Obama said he was "deeply saddened" to hear about her death.
space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model," he said in a statement.
Ride was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California, attending Stanford University for master's and doctorate degrees in physics.
According to her foundation, Ride applied to Nasa after seeing an ad in the Stanford student newspaper, calling for scientists and engineers, including women to apply to the astronaut corps.