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Scott Kelly Shares Stories Of Record Space Trip

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Astronaut Scott Kelly will speak about his time in space on Thursday at the Tampa Theatre.

U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Kelly holds the American record for the longest consecutive time in space, after a 340-day mission to the International Space Station in 2015 and 2016.

Since returning to Earth, he's written a number of books about his experiences, including "Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery," and a children's book, "My Journey to the Stars."

Kelly will be speaking Thursday night at the Tampa Theatre with WUSF's Mark Schreiner.

Kelly admitted that he wasn't the best student growing up, and it wasn't until college when he read "The Right Stuff," Tom Wolfe's 1979 book about the test pilots and astronauts who took part in the early days of the U.S. space program, that he saw a greater path than himself than trade school or law enforcement - like his parents.

Credit Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

"I recognized traits that these guys had that I felt like I had in myself, with one exception - and that is I couldn't do my homework and study," said Kelly.

"But the book inspired me that if I just could fix that problem, perhaps I could do all these other things, these incredible things that these guys did."

"It's actually remarkable to think that I went from the kid that couldn't do his homework to flying in space as the first guy in my astronaut class of 35 people to fly after a short 18 years of hard work," he added.

Kelly hopes that people might find some inspiration in his story the way he found his spark from Wolfe's book.

"I hope young and older people alike will read this and think that, 'Maybe I can do that thing I aspire to but thought I didn't have what it takes,'" he said.

"Because I think my story is a good example of overcoming some pretty significant challenges and still do great things with a little bit of inspiration."

You can hear more from Kelly, including what it was like to be on the International Space Station when his sister-in-law, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in 2011, by clicking on the link above.

Kelly will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Tampa Theatre. For ticket information, click here.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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