Radical Woman of the Day: Shannon Lucid

On this day in 1943, Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid was born in Shanghai, China, to Baptist missionaries Oscar and Myrtle Wells. Subsequently raised in Oklahoma, Lucid attended the University of Oklahoma, where she earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry.

Having held a number of research and teaching posts during the 60s and early 70s as a biochemist, Lucid was selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps’ first class containing female students in 1974, a year after she finished her graduate studies. She went into space five times on four different shuttle missions and a prolonged stay aboard the Mir space station, all while raising three children.

In 1996, Lucid set two different records when her return from the Mir was delayed twice. She performed a number of life and physical science experiments in space for 188 days, from March 22 to September 26, the longest time in orbit both by a non-Russian and by a woman. (The latter record was later broken by Sunita Williams in 2007.) For this accomplishment she received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

From 2002 to 2003, Lucid was NASA’s Chief Scientist, and from 2005 to 2012, when she retired, she was the lead capsule communicator for the Planning shift of several shuttle missions.

Via The Radical Women’s History Project.