Prior to her flight in space, Ride served as CAPCOM for the second and third Columbia missions, a role designated as the sole point of communication between a space-faring crew and mission control on the ground. In this capacity, she consulted on a series of morning wake-up calls for STS-2 featuring original material with the cast of Pigs in Space. The process of working on the scripts to fine-tune details allowed her to forge a friendship with writers Jerry and Susan Juhl. Following mission success, the relationship garnered the Juhls an invitation to Ride's launch on Challenger.
During the ramp-up to her first flight, Ride's celebrity increased with recognition on magazine covers and warm wishes from other famous individuals; particularly women, and especially women who were trailblazers in their fields. According to her biographer, one such accolade came in the form of a message from Miss Piggy:
During the production of Fraggle Rock, the Juhls invited Ride to visit the set in Toronto. Susan Juhl recalls that Ride had been "fascinated by the Doozers, since the mechanisms used to make them move was very similar to the arm on the Shuttle." Mechanical designer Faz Fazakas also recalled in documentary footage from Fraggle Rock: Complete First Season that Ride practiced with the Doozer Vehicles technology prior to operating the shuttle's robotic arm.
- Countdown from 10 with Grundgetta (First: Episode 1939)
- A for astronaut; Ride launches like a rocket from the arbor (First: Episode 1949)
- Ride, Bob, and Maria talk to some kids about space travel on the steps of 123 Sesame Street. (First: Episode 1965) (An excerpt from this segment is later seen in Episode 2059 when Maria tells Big Bird what type of career she might like to have had.)
- The Jim Henson Legacy: Susan Juhl Remembers Sally Ride