Candy Torres drove nonstop for 21 hours to see the launch of space shuttle Challenger in June 1983. She had seen shuttle launches before, but this trip from Princeton, New Jersey, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, was different: Sally Ride was about to become the first female U.S. astronaut to leave the Earth's atmosphere.
Torres was proud to watch the first female astronaut take flight. She was even more proud at the thought of Ride's achievement inspiring more women to work in the space program. In a field that was almost entirely dominated by men, Torres had been working as a satellite engineer for seven years.
Torres shared photos of the launch with CNN iReport as NASA prepared for the final flight in its shuttle program. She recalled the moment of joy these pictures capture: Standing in front of the towering mass of the shuttle Challenger, she smiles as she shoulders the camera she used to record the event.