Monday November 20, 2017

What's it like to spend a year in space? Astronaut Scott Kelly on his new book

In 2015, Scott Kelly set the American record by staying aboard the International Space Station for 340 days. Kelly describes that flight and others in his new book Endurance: A Year in Space. A Life Time of Discovery.

In 2015, Scott Kelly set the American record by staying aboard the International Space Station for 340 days. Kelly describes that flight and others in his new book Endurance: A Year in Space. A Life Time of Discovery. (Joel Kowsky/NASA/Reuters)

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After spending nearly a year in space together, U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and his Russian crew mate believe they have a solution to the political enmity now gripping their two nations.

"You know Misha (Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko) used to say in space, 'You know if our two countries want to solve the issue we have with one another, we should just send our two presidents into space together for a year,'" Scott Kelly told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti. 

Kelly, who set the American record for most days in space, says there is very little room for political animosity in orbit. And despite the animosity between Washington and Moscow, the space agencies continue their close collaboration.

'Sometimes we have to rely on each other for our lives literally in an emergency so conflicts that happen on Earth don't really affect us in space.' - Scott Kelly

"It's interesting how you can have conflict on Earth, but that doesn't always translate into conflict in space at least with the people that are there working together," says Kelly.

Book cover Endurance: A year in space, a lifetime of discovery

'It's interesting how you can have conflict on Earth, but that doesn't always translate into conflict in space at least with the people ... working together,' said Scott Kelly. (Penguin Random House Canada)

"The space station is an international station, and we rely on each other for friendship in space, emotional support and sometimes we have to rely on each other for our lives literally in an emergency so conflicts that happen on Earth don't really affect us in space."

Kelly has made four space flights and, in 2015, set the American record by staying aboard the International Space Station for 340 days.  

Kelly describes that flight and others in his new book Endurance: A Year in Space. A Life Time of Discovery.

Kelly says from space, Earth seems like a very beautiful and peaceful planet, and that it makes you think the people on it can do better than the violence and pollution taking place below him. 

In 2011, Kelly was aboard the International Space Station when he learned that his sister-in-law, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords had been shot and nearly killed in an assassination attempt. 

One of the people he spoke to in a video conference call shortly after the shooting was Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"He was very nice actually. He spent most of the time talking directly to me and letting me know how the Russian people are there to support my family and send their condolences. It was a nice message he gave."


Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.