Shannon Lucid

Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid (born January 14, 1943) is an American biochemist and a retired NASA astronaut.

At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman.

Lucid was born in Shanghai, China, to Baptist missionary parents Oscar and Myrtle Wells, but grew up in Bethany, Oklahoma and graduated from Bethany High School.

Lucid is best known for her fifth spaceflight, when she spent 188 days in space, from March 22 to September 26, 1996, including 179 days aboard Mir, the Russian space station.

Both to and from Mir, she travelled on Space Shuttle Atlantis, launching on STS-76 and returning on STS-79.

Her stay on Mir was not expected to last so long but her return was delayed twice, extending her stay by about six weeks.

During the mission she performed numerous life science and physical science experiments.

STS-51G Discovery (June 17 to June 24, 1985) was a 7-day mission, during which the crew deployed communications satellites for Mexico (Morelos), the Arab League (Arabsat) and the United States (AT&T Telstar).

They 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.

The mission was accomplished in 112 orbits of the Earth, traveling 2.5 million miles in 169 hours and 39 minutes. Landing was at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), California.

STS-43 Atlantis (August 2 to August 11, 1991) was a 9-day mission, during which the crew 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.

The mission was accomplished in 142 orbits of the Earth, traveling 3.7 million miles in 213 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds.

STS-43 Atlantis was the eighth Space Shuttle to land at KSC.

Much has been made of Lucid’s record-setting 188 days in orbit with her last six weeks added because of an unexpected delay.

But Lucid’s mission was also an early test and a tentative triumph for NASA’s Shuttle-Mir managers.

It provided good reason for cautious optimism, as Lucid’s six-month posting to the Russian space station began a continuous, two-and-a-half-year American orbital presence.

First were Lucid’s innate patience, faith, and good humor.

She likely learned these qualities from her parents at a very young age.

She also worked hard herself at developing them as she grew.

When she was six weeks old, her family became Japanese prisoners of war.

After a year in an internment camp, they were released in a prisoner exchange and returned to the United States.

After the war was over, they returned to China.

But, they had to leave again when the Communists took control.

Lucid was one of the first women admitted into the astronaut program and became a NASA astronaut in 1979.

Before Shuttle-Mir, she flew on four Space Shuttle missions, including STS-34, which released the Galileo spacecraft on its long journey to explore Jupiter and its Moons.

She also flew on STS-58 with John Blaha and David Wolf, who also participated in the Shuttle-Mir Program.