Shannon Wells Lucid was born on January 14, 1943 in Shanghai, China, but considers Bethany, Oklahoma to be her hometown. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry, Shannon went on to receive her master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in biochemistry from the University in 1970 and 1973, respectively. After serving as a research associate at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, she was selected by NASA in 1978. Also a commercial, instrument and multi-engine rated pilot, Shannon qualified for assignments as a mission specialist on Space Shuttle flight crews when she became an astronaut in August of 1979.
Some of Shannonıs technical assignments included working in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and the Flight Software Laboratory, working with the rendezvous and proximity operations group, and participating in payload testing, Shuttle testing and launch countdowns. Her first Space Shuttle mission was STS-51G in June 1985. On this seven-day mission, the Space Shuttle Discovery deployed communications satellites for Mexico, the Arab League and the United States. The crew also conducted several biomedical experiments during their 112 orbits of the Earth.
Dr. Lucidıs next mission was aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-34, which was a five-day mission to deploy the Galileo spacecraft on its six-year journey to explore Jupiter. STS-43 Atlantis was Shannonıs third mission, which launched on August 2, 1991. Among other duties, a tracking and data relay satellite was deployed and life science experiments were conducted.
The STS-58 Columbia mission which Dr. Lucid was aboard in November of 1993 was mainly devoted to medical research, especially the effects of space on human and animal (rat) bodies. This record duration fourteen-day mission was recognized by NASA management as the ³most successful and efficient Spacelab flight flown by NASA.² In completing this flight, Shannon logged 838 hours and 54 minutes in space, making her Americaıs female space traveler with the most hours in space.
Dr. Lucid currently holds the United States single mission space flight endurance record on the Russian Space Station Mir. In addition, she is the only woman ever to live in space. Following a year of training in Russia, Shannonıs journey started with liftoff at Kennedy Space Center on March 22, 1996. Following docking, she transferred to the Mir Space Station, where she performed numerous life science and physical science experiments during the course of her stay. After 188 days in space, Shannon returned to Earth on September 26, 1996. Upon completion of this mission, Dr. Lucid traveled 75.2 million miles in 188 days, 4 hours and 14 seconds.
The recipient of many awards, Shannon was most recently awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by the President of the United States. She is the first and only woman to have earned this prestigious award. She has also received the Order of Friendship Medal, one of the highest Russian civilian awards and the highest award that can be presented to a non-citizen, by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Shannon is married to Michael Lucid and they have two daughters and one son.