April 3, 2008 — Vol. 1, Issue 3
This Month in NASA History
On March 24, 1996, during Atlantis shuttle mission STS-76, astronaut Shannon W. Lucid boarded Russian space station Mir for a five-month stay, marking her place in history as the first U.S. woman to fly aboard the space station.
Voyaging 75.2 million miles in 188 days, Dr. Lucid became the first female to hold an international record for the most flight hours in orbit by any non-Russian. For two decades she held the world record for the most flight hours in orbit by any woman. (Staying aboard the International Space Station, Sunita Williams surpassed Dr. Lucid’s mark last June.).
A doctor of biochemistry, Lucid served as Mir’s Board Engineer 2 during that record-breaking mission, conducting numerous life and physical science experiments. In a lighter moment during her extended stay in space, she told reporters that she missed “some gooey desserts” and other junk food. After she returned to Earth on shuttle mission STS-79 on September 26, 1996, President Clinton sent her a large box of M&M’s.
A veteran of five spaceflights, Shannon Lucid was the first woman to receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. From February 2002-September 2003, she held the position of Chief Scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. Dr. Lucid currently works at the Johnson Space Center.