September 26

This Day in History

General Interest

Sep 26, 1996:

Shannon Lucid returns to Earth

U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid returns to Earth in the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis following six months in orbit aboard the Russian space station Mir.

On March 23, 1996, Lucid transferred to Mir from the same space shuttle for a planned five-month stay. A biochemist, Lucid shared Mir with Russian cosmonauts Yuri Onufriyenko and Yuri Usachev and conducted scientific experiments during her stay. She was the first American woman to live in a space station.

Beginning in August, her scheduled return to Earth was delayed by more than six weeks because of last-minute repairs to the booster rockets of Atlantis and then by a hurricane. Finally, on September 26, 1996, she returned to Earth aboard Atlantis, touching down at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Her 188-day sojourn aboard Mir set a new space endurance record for an American and a world endurance record for a woman.

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