Shannon W. Lucid grew up during the 1940s and 1950s when women rarely thought of careers in the sciences and aviation, but ignored conventional restrictions to pursue a dream. Confronted by discriminatory attitudes, she persisted, earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma in 1973.
Dr. Lucid broke ground in 1979, when she became a member of the first astronaut class to admit women. She went on to become the first woman to hold an international record for the most flight hours in orbit by any non-Russian, and, until June 2007, she also held the record for the most flight hours in orbit by any woman in the world – 5,354 hours or 223 days in space. Moreover, the science experiments she performed during her five highly visible space flights broke new ground in spacecraft deployment, earth science studies, space materials processing, biomedical experimentation and atmospheric ozone research.
During her six-month flight aboard the Russian Space Station Mir, Dr. Lucid performed space experiments with poise and professionalism while enduring orbital problems and delays. She was a pioneer role model and diplomat par excellence, becoming highly respected and genuinely liked by the Russian crew members as well as by the Russian people.
Dr. Lucid became the ninth person and the first woman to receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honor (1996). She retired from NASA in January 2012.