Review: Scott Kelly’s Memoir About a Year in Orbit

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery
by Scott Kelly with Margaret Lazarus Dean
Alfred A. Knoff
2017
369 pages

Scott Kelly was failing out of college when he spotted a book at the campus store that would utterly change his life: The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe’s classic tale of Cold War-era test pilots and the Mercury astronauts.

As he read Wolfe’s prose, Kelly realized that flying jets had the same type of adrenaline rush he felt working as an EMT, which had been the only thing he had excelled at thus far. He decided he would pursue a career as an U.S. Navy aviator.

Decades later, he would call Wolfe in the midst of a year-long stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to thank him and ask for advice about how to write a book of his own.

Endurance is the result. The memoir doesn’t live up to Wolfe’s stylistic brilliance, but what the book lacks in style it more than makes up for in inspiration.
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NASA Sets Coverage for Scott Kelly’s Return From Space

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko marked their 300th consecutive day aboard the International Space Station on Jan. 21, 2016. The pair will land March 1 after spending a total of 340 days in space. (Credits: NASA)
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko marked their 300th consecutive day aboard the International Space Station on Jan. 21, 2016. The pair will land March 1 after spending a total of 340 days in space. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Television will provide complete coverage Tuesday, March 1, as three crew members depart the International Space Station, including NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos – the station’s first one-year crew.

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NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Reflects on His Year in Space

Video Caption: Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA reflected on his year aboard the orbital laboratory and the accomplishments he and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos have chalked up during their year-long mission in an in-flight interview recorded Jan. 28 with NASA Public Affairs Officer Rob Navias of the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Kelly and Kornienko are scheduled to land March 1, U.S. time (March 2, Kazakhstan time) in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to complete a 340-day mission in which they collected valuable biomedical data on the long duration effects of weightlessness that will be used to formulate a human mission to Mars.

One-Year Space Station Mission Will Involve Extensive Scientific Experiments

HOUSTON (NASA )PR) — “That’s one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.”  When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, many strides came before to achieve that moment in history.  The same is true for a human mission to Mars.  One step towards that journey begins in March 2015, when NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will make history as the first American to spend a year in space.

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The Year Ahead in Space

The BEAM module docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
The BEAM module docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Update: Added Falcon Heavy flight test to the list.

A number of very cool space missions are set to unfold in the coming year. Here’s a brief rundown:

Jan. 6: Falcon 9 Barge Landing Attempt. SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a barge. The goal is to recover the stage intact for later relaunch. Success could lead to significantly lower launch costs in the years ahead.

March 5: Dawn Arrives at Ceres. Having completed an exploration of the asteroid Vesta, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is due to arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres on March 5. The vehicle will enter orbit around the unexplored world, which is the largest object in the Asteroid Belt.

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NASA, Roscosmos Assign Space Veterans to Year-Long ISS Mission

Scott Kelly

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and their international partners have selected two veteran spacefarers for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station in 2015. This mission will include collecting scientific data important to future human exploration of our solar system. NASA has selected Scott Kelly and Roscosmos has chosen Mikhail Kornienko.

Kelly and Kornienko will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in spring 2015 and will land in Kazakhstan in spring 2016. Kelly and Kornienko already have a connection; Kelly was a backup crew member for the station’s Expedition 23/24 crews, where Kornienko served as a flight engineer.

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