Q&A with Astronaut Mark Kelly in Sarasota

*SQUEE!* Capt. Mark Kelly Signed his Book "Gabby" and My #NASATweetup Badge!
*SQUEE!* Capt. Mark Kelly Signed his Book “Gabby” and My #NASATweetup Badge!

Following Astronaut Mark Kelly’s Sarasota lecture, he sat down with Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Chair Stephanie Grosskreutz to answer questions. Several questions were asked but following are responses to five submitted by the audience (two were my questions!)…

RCLA Town Hall Chair Stephanie Grosskreutz Sits Down with Capt. Mark Kelly, Sarasota, Fla., March 11, 2013
RCLA Town Hall Chair Stephanie Grosskreutz Sits Down with Capt. Mark Kelly, Sarasota, Fla., March 11, 2013

Inspiration
His mother (who passed away last year), Neil Armstrong and John Glenn are people who have inspired Kelly. (Did anyone tell him Neil Armstrong frequently vacationed on Gasparilla Island?)

Endeavour’s Tuscson Flyover
“Fear,” is what he felt during the Sept. 20, 2012, space shuttle Endeavour fly over Tucson. He had sent coordinates for our route to the plane’s captain and had told people where it would fly over. He feared he may have transcribed the coordinates.

Gabby’s Response to Award
Earlier in the month Caroline Kennedy called Gabby Giffords to let her know she was the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. “Profiles in Courage,” is her favorite book and upon learning of the award, Giffords told Kennedy, “Awesome.”

Better Space Shuttle Commander?
Kelly has a twin brother Capt. Scott Kelly who is also a NASA astronaut and has commanded the space shuttle. Between the two, who does Mark think is the better space shuttle commander? He replied he is, justifying his answer because he commanded two space shuttle flights, but said Scott is the better International Space Station commander, since he’s done it twice. He added if Scott does spend a year at ISS as planned in 2014, he will be the American with most time logged in space. (Yeah, a YEAR!)

Post NASA
Although he has retired from NASA, Kelly is consulting with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the private space transport company that has successfully delivered to and returned from International Space Station cargo.

My additional posts related to Kelly’s Sarasota visit:

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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