She returned from space a hero and a teacher of patience, but Shannon Lucid went up to Mir more as a student. Her aims were not so much to endure space hardships as to do her science, to learn all she could, and to get along with her crewmates. These goals paralleled several of NASA’s own goals: to conduct scientific research; to learn how to manage a space station; and to get along with international partners.
Much has been made of Lucid’s record-setting 188 days in orbit with her last six weeks added because of an unexpected delay. But Lucid’s mission was also an early test and a tentative triumph for NASA’s Shuttle-Mir managers. It provided good reason for cautious optimism, as Lucid’s six-month posting to the Russian space station began a continuous, two-and-a-half-year American orbital presence.
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