Sally Ride is most remembered for being the first American woman to go to space, breaking boundaries and stereotypes with her diligence and intelligence. But according to a now-viral YouTube video, her journey to space also included …100 tampons.
Comedian Marcia Belsky went viral across social media for her musical retelling of a time when NASA sent a woman to space for “only six days” with 100 tampons, then asked if that would be enough. But is this legit?
Start off with a keyword search
Plugging in “sally ride 100 tampons” into Google, we found this article from History.com.
According to the article, when Ride and five other women were chosen to join NASA’s astronaut class of 1978, she had to deal with a lot of sexism and gender bias at work. NASA “didn’t always know how to adjust to the presence of women” ― which became even more clear when they asked Ride for help in developing a makeup kit to be used in space.
According to the article, in a 2002 oral history, Ride recalled the time that NASA suggested women take 100 tampons with them to space for a one-week flight. Notably, Ride only said that NASA “suggested” it, but did not state that NASA actually gave her 100 tampons like the song claims.
Go straight to the source
Because the History.com article doesn’t quote this portion from Ride’s oral history and instead paraphrases, we decided to try to find it ourselves. Through another keyword search, we were able to find the transcript from NASA’s oral history project.
Ride said: “I remember the engineers trying to decide how many tampons should fly on a one-week flight; they asked, ‘Is 100 the right number?’”
So yes, it’s true that NASA asked if 100 was an appropriate number, which Belsky uses as a punchline in her comedy song. However, the claim that NASA actually sent a woman to space with that number isn’t entirely true.
Finally, Belsky also claims that NASA tied the 100 tampons together. For safety, we did another keyword search. Luckily, we couldn’t find any evidence of this being true.
In conclusion, NASA didn’t actually send a woman to space with 100 tampons, like the song says. However, according to Ride, NASA did ask if that was the correct number. Since there are some minor historical inaccuracies weaved into the lyrics for comedic purposes, we’ll rate this video as Mostly Legit.