Scott Kelly needs his space. No, not that kind of space. He is talking how much he misses outer space.
The veteran NASA astronaut set the record (340 days) for the single longest mission by an American astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He embarked on a historic mission in 2015 — blasting into orbit to begin his mission to help study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body. Kelly worked on more than 400 scientific studies during his time on the ISS and conducted three spacewalks before returning to Earth in March 2016.
His new book, entitled "Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery," reflects on his time with NASA and his famous mission. Scott will appear at The Saint Edward’s School Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, November, 1 at 7 p.m. when he takes the stage for a free live Q&A session followed by a book signing. The event has been organized by the Vero Beach Book Center.
The book is a candid account of his remarkable voyage and of the journeys off the planet that preceded it as well as his colorful formative years. Kelly hopes the experiences he describes in "Endurance" can serve a similar purpose for readers. He viewed his time at the ISS as a mission of endurance, not only in space, but from the time he was a kid when he struggled in school.
"It was an example of sticking your nose to the grindstone and just plugging away at it," Kelly reflected.
His humanity, compassion, humor, and passion resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough and tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his impressive career.
A former military fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut, and a retired U.S. Navy captain, Kelly describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitatio;n and the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk.
Kelly's identical twin brother, Mark, is also a former astronaut. The Kelly brothers are the only siblings to have traveled in space. Scott Kelly retired as an astronaut in April 2016.
Kelly says the most difficult part of his extended stay in orbit was the psychological aspect.
"Just being isolated, being separated from my family," Kelly said during a conversation on CBS This Morning. "My big concern was always not for my own physical safety, but something happening to someone I care about on the ground, which I experienced on my previous mission when my sister-in-law Congresswoman Gifford was shot." Kelly also reflected on how his experience in space has affected the way he looks at life on Earth.
"I think it makes you more of an environmentalist, looking at the planet" he said. "I think it makes you more of a humanist, you know, looking out at seven and a half billion people on Earth, no political borders. When we spend time away from Earth and have this orbital perspective, I think it makes us more empathetic. It was a real privilege to do this and have this experience."
He firmly believes that a flight to Mars is doable and will be the next major accomplishment in American spaceflight. Many of the tests he performed at the ISS were designed to simulate what astronauts landing on Mars would experience.
A natural storyteller, Kelly earns kudos for expertly capturing what it is like to fly in space, bringing the reader into its boundless wonder.
Ticket One, $35.00 includes admission for one and (1) autographed copy of "Endurance." Ticket Two, $40.00 includes admission for two and (1) autographed copy of "Endurance." Contact Vero Beach Book Center: 772-569-2050 or visit www.verobeachbookcenter.com