Astronaut Scott Kelly inspiring next generation in Milwaukee

Posted at 10:12 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 23:17:17-04

Scott Kelly set a record in 2015 for being in space for more than a year, the longest at the time for an American astronaut. He came to Milwaukee Monday night to inspire the next generation.

In total he has spent more 520 days in space. Kelly was the commander of the International Space Station three times, but before any of that he was a terrible student.

“When I was a kid I was a really bad student. And I was the kid who would be looking out the window or looking at the clock trying to make it go faster,” said Kelly.

He believes he would have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child if he was in school today. But a book about test pilots changed his life.

“An 18-year-old kid can’t do his homework, reads a book, decides he is going to become an astronaut,” said Kelly, scoffing at what people probably thought.

Kelly flew four space flights. The final one kept him in space more than a year to help NASA in its mission to eventually reach Mars. He told the audience at the University Wisconsin-Milwaukee Monday night that he could see space tourism coming soon.

“I would imagine in the next 10 years its going to be like the early days of aviation where you have some people who can afford, are willing to take the risk to go flying in space,” said Kelly.

Despite missing a year of life on Earth, including not being around for his children, he has a simple answer for NASA if they came calling.

“If they asked me would you want to fly again, I would say, 'in a second,'” said Kelly.

He also would sign up for Mars, but he said he has to be promised it’s a return trip. He was at the UWM campus to promote his book Endurance, which details his year in space.