A Shuttle-Mir veteran and a spacewalking virtuoso will join the ranks of other spaceflight legends on the afternoon of Saturday, May 3, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex (KSCVC). Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) chairman, former shuttle astronaut Dan Brandenstein, made the announcement Friday, Feb. 7, at KSCVC’s Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit that astronauts Dr. Shannon Lucid and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Jerry Ross will be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. This induction will showcase the career highlights of Lucid and Ross, both prominent figures in the shuttle, Mir, and International Space Station programs.
Dr. Lucid was one of the first six female astronauts selected to NASA’s astronaut corps in 1978, and she forged a career in biochemistry well before becoming an astronaut (she was also the first mother selected to the corps). In 1985, she made her first space flight on STS-51G (Discovery). She made further flights on 1989’s STS-34, 1991’s STS-43, and 1993’s STS-58.
In 1996, Lucid spent 179 days aboard the Russian space station Mir, setting the record for the then-longest duration spaceflight made by a woman. She was the only American woman to make a long-duration stay aboard the space station during the 1990s Shuttle-Mir program. Following her return on STS-79, Lucid was honored with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor for her contributions to Shuttle-Mir, becoming the first woman to receive that accolade. Following that milestone, Lucid stayed on at NASA functioning as its Chief Scientist and as a CAPCOM for numerous shuttle missions. She retired in 2012, having served 33 years at NASA.
Jerry Ross was selected to the astronaut corps in 1980, having served in the U.S. Air Force as a flight engineer. During his spaceflight career, Ross became the most prolific space shuttle astronaut, having flown STS-61B (1985), STS-27 (1988), STS-37 (1991), STS-55 (1993), STS-74 (1995), STS-88 (1998), and STS-110 (2002). On STS-88, Ross performed three EVAs ushering in the International Space Station (ISS) era—on that particular mission, he was instrumental in helping to connect the United States’ Unity module to Russia’s Zarya module.
In 2002, he ended his spaceflight career with another ISS assembly mission. His seven spaceflights broke another Hall of Fame astronaut’s record for most number of flights (that astronaut would be John W. Young, Apollo 16 moonwalker and STS-1 commander). During his career, Ross was honored with the American Astronautical Society’s Victor A. Prather award for his record-setting EVAs in 1985, 1990, and 1999, and several NASA and military medals. Prior to his 2012 retirement, he served as head of the Vehicle Integration Test Office at Johnson Space Center.
This induction will include Lucid and Ross among other U.S. spaceflight legends in the Hall of Fame, including last year’s inductees, shuttle astronauts Curtis Brown, Eileen Collins, and Bonnie Dunbar. Brandenstein related during the announcement: “Shannon Lucid and Jerry Ross are extraordinary astronauts who made history as very important and frequent crew members in shuttle missions. We are looking forward to honoring their accomplishments and sharing their tremendous life stories at the May 3 induction.”
Prior to the induction ceremony, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation will celebrate on the evening of Friday, May 2, with a gala reception at KSCVC’s Apollo/Saturn V Center. For more information about this upcoming event and the induction, visit the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s website.