Shannon Lucid

UPDATED 12/30/1996 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/30/1996 at 01:00 AM EST

When Shannon Lucid, 53, landed on Sept. 26, NASA's reigning Ripken had logged a U.S. record of 188 straight days in space. She shared her 67 million-mile mission with two male cosmonauts aboard Russian space station Mir. Now she's a living science project as doctors track her every vital sign, gauging the effects of long-term space flight—the reason for her voyage. So far, Lucid is experiencing few ill effects. "She's like a space superwoman," says astronaut Carl Walz. Yet throughout the cozy, post-Cold War road trip, Lucid seemed less a seasoned astronaut than a spunky mom (she's both), thrilled to be circling Earth (3,008 times). Her great crisis? A shortage of M&Ms, which were ferried to her via space capsules. Of course there were benefits to the trek. "A friend called," Lucid reports, "and said, 'You didn't have to pay a single bill, did you?' "

It's no surprise that Lucid is a trouper. Born to Baptist missionaries in World War Il-torn Shanghai, she spent her first year of life in a Japanese prison camp. The family later settled in Oklahoma, where Lucid earned her pilot's license at 17. She grew up to be a biochemist and one of NASA's charter class ('78) of female astronauts. But to husband Mike and their three grown children, she's just a working stiff with a nasty commute. "When I walked in the door," says Lucid, who with preflight training had scarcely seen her family for two years, though they exchanged daily e-mail during her trip, "everybody wanted to know what I was going to fix for supper."

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters