Sally Ride's life away from Houston's Johnson Space Center with her husband, Steve Hawley, a fellow astronaut and scientist, still has some of the flavor of a graduate student existence.
The two lived together for a year before becoming the first married astronaut couple last July and moving to a house in Clear Lake City, a luxury development near the space center with jogging paths and carefully preserved oak trees.
Their house, organized around a small central courtyard and a swimming pool that fills the back yard, is decorated in space-program modern. Walls are covered with photos of NASA T38 jets flying in formation, pictures of the space shuttle and a poster of the logo designed for the T-shirt of their astronaut class.
A large photograph of a moon landing hangs in the master bedroom. Kitchen cupboards are full of coffee and beer mugs with shuttle flight insignias.
Ride and Hawley share a passion for sports and television, and the TV is on during most of their waking hours. They maintain a competition covering football, baseball and basketball trivia, which extends occasionally to other fields.
One evening during a rerun from the series "I Spy," Hawley recognized two characters as actors who had also appeared on "Star Trek" and challenged Ride to identify them. She was stumped.
"She's Khan's girlfriend, from the first season," he said triumphantly. "He's an easy one. He's Rogan, from the Kelvin empire."
Later, they watched "First Monday in October," a movie about a woman who becomes the first female Supreme Court justice. Ride was contemptuous of the character portrayed by Jill Clayburgh: "Why do they make a point of always showing her carrying flowers and potting plants?"
They limit their cooking to barbecuing steaks or hamburgers and tossing a quick salad, and they shop for food when they get hungry.
"We eat from hand to mouth around here, and we tend to survive mostly on potato chips," Ride said.
Hawley joked that when he asks her how long it will be until dinner, her usual answer is, "Thirty minutes. What are we having ?"
Hawley was chosen a few months ago as a crew member on the shuttle's 12th mission, scheduled next March. His duties are similar to Ride's in preparing for his upcoming flight.
For most of the last year, while Ride got ready to go into space, he worked at a far less glamorous job in the office that coordinates astronaut training. He says he got tired of being asked how he felt knowing his wife would fly before he did. "I guess it makes it harder," he said last fall, when his future was still uncertain. "If they hadn't picked her, I think I would be mad, because I think she deserved it."
Ride said being selected for a crew has since made Hawley's life easier. "He's obviously much happier to have a flight than not to have a flight."
Carolyn L. Huntoon, the space center's deputy chief of personnel development, said she talked with Hawley for a long time about the pressure that her flight and fame would put on their relationship.
"They both knew exactly what they wanted, they both were competing . . . and they knew before they got married that she had gotten selected," Huntoon said. " I said, 'Don't let this be the problem in your lives. Let the patio furniture be the problem.' "