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Shannon Lucid

four-time Space Shuttle astronaut and record-setting American resident of Mir

Shannon Lucid

Biographical Data

Shannon Matilda Wells was born to Baptist missionaries in Shanghai, China, on January 14, 1943. When she was six weeks old, her family became Japanese prisoners of war. They spent a year in an internment camp before being released in a prisoner exchange. The family returned to China after the war, but left again when the Communists took control, and Shannon subsequently grew up in Bethany, Oklahoma. Shannon is married to Michael F. Lucid, with whom she has 2 daughters, 1 son, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Education and Early Career

After graduating from Bethany (OK) High School in 1960, Lucid entered the University of Oklahoma, from which she received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry in 1963. She went on to earn a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma, in 1970 and 1973, respectively.

While working on her Masters and Doctorate degrees, Lucid worked as: teaching assistant, University of Oklahoma Department of Chemistry, 1963-1964; semior laboratory technician, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 1964-1966; chemist, Kerr-McGee, Oklahoma City, 1966-1968; and graduate assistant, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1969-1973. After completing her studies she became a research associate at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, where she worked from 1974 until being selected by NASA.

Space Career

Lucid was selected by NASA in January 1978, as part of the first class to include women, and became an astronaut in August 1979. She subsequently served as a mission specialist on four Space Shuttle missions, and as a board engineer on a record-setting mission aboard the Soviet Mir Space Station.

STS-51G Discovery, June 17-24, 1985 -- This mission deployed communications satellites for Mexico (Morelos), the Arab League (Arabsat) and the United States (AT&T Telstar). The crew also used the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) to deploy and later retrieve the SPARTAN satellite, which performed 17 hours of x-ray astronomy experiments while separated from the Space Shuttle. In addition, the crew activated the Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF), six Getaway Specials and participated in biomedical experiments. Total time in space was 169 hours and 39 minutes.

STS-34 Atlantis, October 18- 23, 1989 -- This mission deployed the Galileo spacecraft and operated the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Instrument (SSBUV) to map atmospheric ozone and performed numerous secondary experiments involving radiation measurements, polymer morphology, lightning research, microgravity effects on plants, and a student experiment on ice crystal growth in space. Total time in space was 119 hours and 41 minutes.

STS-43 Atlantis, August 2-11, 1991 -- This mission deployed the fifth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-E). The crew also conducted 32 physical, material and life science experiments, mostly relating to the Extended Duration Orbiter and Space Station Freedom. Total time in space was 213 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds.

STS-58 Columbia, October 18-November 1, 1993 -- This record duration 14-day mission was recognized by NASA management as the most successful and efficient Spacelab flight flown by NASA. The crew performed neurovestibular, cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, metabolic and musculoskeletal medical experiments on themselves and 48 rats, and also performed 16 engineering tests aboard the Orbiter Columbia and 20 Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project experiments. Total time in space was 336 hours, 13 minutes and 1 second.

On March 22, 1996, Lucid rode STS-76 Atlantis to the Soviet Union's Mir Space Station, where she performed numerous life science and physical science experiments during the course of her stay. She returned to Earth aboard STS-79 Atlantis on September 26, 1996. The 188 days, 4 hours, 0 minutes and 4 seconds she spent aboard Mir remains the longest stay aboard Mir of any American, and was the record for longest single space flight by any woman until being broken by Suni Williams in 2006; she is also the only American woman to ever serve aboard Mir.

By the time Lucid retired from NASA in January 2012, she had logged over 223 days in space. From August 1991 to June 2007, she held the record for most days in orbit by any woman.

NASA History Office
NASA Johnson Space Center

Mir Space Station

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This page was last updated on 01/13/2018.