Shannon Lucid, a member of NASA's first astronaut class to include women, has retired after more than three decades of service to the agency.
A veteran of five spaceflights, Lucid logged more than 223 days in space, and from August 1991 to June 2007, held the record for the most days in orbit by any woman in the world.
Lucid is the only American woman to serve aboard the Russian Mir space station. She lived and worked there for more than 188 days, the longest stay of any American on that vehicle. Her time on Mir also set the single flight endurance record by a woman until Sunita Williams broke it in 2006.
"Shannon is an extraordinary woman and scientist. She paved the way for so many of us," Peggy Whitson, chief of NASA's Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said. "She was a model astronaut for long-duration missions, and whether she was flying hundreds of miles up in space or serving as Capcom [capsule communicator] during the overnight hours for our space shuttle and space station crews, she always brought a smile to our faces. Like so many others, I always will look up to her."
Lucid, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry, was selected by NASA in 1978. She joined five other women as the agency's first female astronauts. Her first three shuttle missions deployed satellites. STS-51G in 1985 deployed and retrieved the SPARTAN satellite; STS-34 in 1989 deployed the Galileo spacecraft to explore Jupiter; and STS-43 in 1991 deployed the fifth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-E). Her fourth shuttle mission, STS-58 in 1993, focused on medical experiments and engineering tests.
Lucid traveled on board Atlantis on STS-76 in March 1996 to the Russian Mir space station. She performed numerous life science and physical science experiments during the course of her stay. She returned from the station aboard Atlantis on STS-79 in September 1996.
In 2002, Shannon Lucid served as NASA's chief scientist at the agency's headquarters in Washington. She returned to Johnson in the fall of 2003 and resumed technical assignments in the Astronaut Office. She served as a Capcom in the Mission Control Center for numerous space shuttle and space station crews, representing the flight crew office and providing a friendly voice for dozens of friends and colleagues in space.