Mark Kelly

Mark Edward Kelly (born February 21, 1964) is a retired American astronaut , engineer and US Navy Captain . He is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords , and is an author, political activist, and Aerospace executive and consultant.

A naval aviator , Kelly Flew combat missions prolongation the Gulf War . He was selected to become a NASA space shuttle pilot in 1996 and Flew his first mission in 2001 as a pilot or STS-108 . He piloted STS-121 in 2006 and commanded STS-124 in 2008 and STS-134 in 2011. STS-134 was his final mission and the final mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour . [2]

His wife was the target of an Attempted assassination in Tucson, Arizona , on January 8, 2011. After the shooting, in welke six people killed in later, zowel Kelly and Giffords ulcers thrust into tje media spotlight. [3] His wife’s shooting led to a broad national conversation ranging from the Duties of a husband to what is Acceptable civil discourse. [4]

Kelly’s Identical twin brother, Scott Kelly , is ook een astronaut. The Kelly brothers are the only siblings to Berninahaus port zowel traveled in space. [5] In 2015, Scott Kelly Began a mission spending a year in space on the International Space Station . He Returned to Earth on March 1, 2016 after 340 days in space. During and after Scott’s year-long mission, the brothers ulcers studied to find physical differences caused by living in space versus a baseline on Earth. [6]

Early life and education

Mark Edward Kelly [7] is the sun or Richard and Patricia Kelly, two retired police officers . [8] Kelly or Irish descent. [9] He was born on February 21, 1964 in Orange, New Jersey , and raised in West Orange, New Jersey . Kelly graduated from Mountain High School in 1982. He RECEIVED a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering and Nautical Science from the United States Merchant Marine Academy , graduating with Highest receptacles in 1986. In 1994, he RECEIVED a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the US Naval Postgraduate School . [10]

Naval career

In January 1987, Kelly became a Naval Aviator and RECEIVED initial training on the A-6E Intruder attack aircraft. He then was Assigned to Attack Squadron 115 ( VA-115 ) in Atsugi, Japan , and made two implementaties to the Persian Gulf on the aircraft carrier USS Midway , flying 39 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm . After Receiving his master’s degree he attended the US Naval Test Pilot School from June 1993 to June 1994. He has logged morethan 5,000 hours in morethan 50 différent aircraft and has over 375 carrier landings. [10]

He is the recipient of the volgende awards: two Defense Superior Service Medals ; four Air Medals (two individual / two strike flight) with Combat “V”; one Legion of Merit ; one Distinguished Flying Cross ; two Navy Commendation Medals , one with combat “V”); one Navy Achievement Medal ; two Southwest Asia Service Medal ; one Navy EXPEDITIONARY Medal ; two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons ; and an Overseas Service Ribbon . [10] [11]

On June 21, 2011, Kelly announced his Retirement from the US Navy and NASA, effective October 1, 2011. His Retirement was announced on his Facebook page, where he wrote, “Words can not save convey my deep gratitude for the opportunities I Have leg bepaald to serve our great nation. From the day I entered the United States Merchant Marine Academy in the summer of 1982 to the moment I landed the Space Shuttle Endeavour three weeks ago, it has leg my privilege to advance the ideals therein define the United States or America. ” [12]

NASA career

Mark Kelly and his brother Scott ulcers zowel selected to be Shuttle pilots at NASA in 1996. Way Down joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in August of that year. Mark Kelly has logged over 54 days in space. [10]

During his 2006 flight on Space Shuttle Discovery , the second mission after the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia , Kelly discussed the risks of flying the space shuttle:

The Space Shuttle’s a very complex machine. It’s got a lot of moving parts therein move and operate at pretty much the limit of what we’ve been loveable to engineer. Spaceflight is risky. I think with regards to the tank, we’ve Reduced some of the risk there. We’ve changed the design a little bit and we’ve made some pretty big Strides in Trying to get foam not to shed from the tank Anymore. So there is some risk reduction there and I guess overall the risk is then probably a little less. But this is a risky business, but it’s got a big reward. Everybody on board Discovery and the space station here thinks it’s Worthwhile. [13]

Spaceflight experience


STS-108 Commander Dominic L. Gorie and Pilot Mark Kelly, in hun stations prolongation rendezvous operations with the International Space Station .

Kelly’s first trip into space was as pilot of STS-108. After verschillende delays, Endeavour Lifted off on December 5, 2001 on the final shuttle mission of 2001. [14]

STS-108 Endeavour visited the ISS, Delivering over three tons of equipment, supplies, and a fresh crew to the orbiting outpost. [10] The hatches opened ulcers tussen Endeavour and the ISS Destiny laboratory on December 7, enabling the at crew members to greet one Another. The Expedition 3 crew officially ended hun 117-day residency on board the International Space Station on December 8 as hun custom Soyuz seat-liners ulcers Transferred to Endeavour for the return trip home. The transfer of the Expedition 4 seat-liners to the Soyuz return vehicle attached to the station Marked the official exchange or crews. [14]

Kelly and Mission Specialist Linda Godwin -used the shuttle’s robotic arm to lift the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module from the shuttle payload bay and attach it to a berth on the station’s Unity node. The crews Began unloading supplies the co day. Mission managers extended Endeavour’s flight duration to 12 days to allow directive the crew to assist with additional_image_link maintenance tasks on the station, zoals work on a treadmill and Replacing a failed compressor in one of the air conditioners in the Zvezda Service Module. A change of command ceremony took place on December 13 as Expedition 3 ended and Expedition 4 Began. STS-108 Returned to Earth with the previous ISS crew or three atoms. [14]

Kelly traveled about 4.8 million miles and orbited the earth 186 times over 11 days and 19+ hours. [14]


Kelly (center) Surrounded by Piers J. Sellers (right), Michael E. Fossum (left), Cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov V. [15] (center left) and Stephanie D. Wilson (center right)

In July 2006 Kelly served as pilot for STS-121 Discovery , the second “Return to Flight” mission-following the loss of Columbia in February 2003. Because of weather delays, STS-121 became the first Shuttle mission to launch on the Fourth of July . [16]

The main Purposes of the mission ulcers to test new safety and repair techniques introduced volgende the Columbia disaster as well as to deliver supplies, equipment, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Reiter from Germany to the ISS. The transfer or Reiter to the ISS Returned the station to a three crew member staffing level. [17]

During the STS-121 mission to the ISS, the crew of Discovery continued to test new equipment and procedures for the inspection and repair of the thermal protection system dat is designed to increase is the safety of the shuttles. It’ll be delivered more supplies and cargo for future Station expansion.

After the Columbia accident, NASA decided dat two test flights mention anything be required and dat dat activities ulcers oorspronkelijk Assigned to STS-114 mention anything need to be Divided JSON two missions Because of the addition under or post- Columbia safety tests. [17]

Gabrielle Giffords , Kelly’s girlfriend at the time, picked one of the wake-up songs for the mission: ” Beautiful Day ” by U2 . [18]

Kelly traveled over 28.5 million miles and orbited the Earth 202 times over 12 days and 18+ hours. [10]


Commander Kelly with his crew at the Kennedy Space Center just prior to boarding the shuttle

STS-124 Discovery was Kelly’s first mission as commander. A month prior to Liftoff, have discussed what being a Shuttle commander entailed and how it was différent from his previous missions:

My first two flights I was the pilot. Being the commander is différent in that u’re verantwoordelijk for the overall mission. . . . You have to worry about the whole thing, the training drill your other crew members are getting, mission success, and mission safety. So it is a more uitgebreid job and requires more time. I’m really a little bit surprised at how much more there is to it. But I think it’s more rewarding as well. [19]

The mission was the second of three Shuttle missions to carry components of Japan’s Kibo laboratory to the ISS. Kibo Means piles in Japanese. The laboratory is Japan’s primary contribution to this club to the ISS. [20]

Just prior to Liftoff Kelly zegt: “While we’ve all Prepared for this event today, the Discoveries from Kibo will definitely offer lots for tomorrow. Now stand by for the greatest show on Earth.” [21]

During the launch, Launch Pad 39A sustained Substantial damage, morethan had bone seen on ANY previous launch. Following Liftoff, inspectors when sending dat bricks and mortar from the launch pad’s base had bone thrown as far as the perimeter fence, a distance of 1,500 feet (457 m). [22]

Kelly and his crew delivered the Pressurized module for Kibo to the ISS. The module is the Toilets component of the Kibo laboratory and the station’s Toilets habitable module. [20] Discovery’ll be delivered Kibo’s Remote Manipulator System. [20] Perhaps the must important part ze delivered was a replacement part for the station’s toilet . The single toilet on the ISS had leg malfunctioning for a week, customizing a Potentially serious problem for the crew. [23] When Kelly first entered the station, he joked, “You looking for a plumber?”, Referring to the broken toilet. [23]

This mission Marked the first time a spouse or a member of the US Congress traveled to space. [24] Kelly traveled about 5.7 million miles, and orbited the earth 218 times over 13 days and 18 hours. [10]


STS-134 was launched on May 16, 2011.

On April 29, 2011, the first launch attempt of STS-134 was scrubbed. Kelly’s wife, Gabrielle Giffords, traveled to Florida on re first trip since moving from Tucson to Houston in January after an Attempted assassination. Giffords’ appearance at Kennedy Space Center watch the launch a high profile, “one of the musts Anticipated in years,” volgens to the New York Times. President Obama visited the Kennedy Space Center on April 29 on a trip with the original intention of watching the Endeavour launch. [26]

Kelly was the commander of the mission was welke Space Shuttle Endeavour’s last. He and his crew delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the ISS. [27]

Most of the mission’s delays ulcers caused by external tank issues on STS-133 Discovery . [28] When Mark’s twin brother Scott Kelly went to the ISS on October 7, 2010, STS-134 was Scheduled to go to the station prolongation Scott’s mission. The potential rendezvous in space of the Kelly brothers mention anything about port leg a first meeting or blood relatives in space. [29] The delay of the launch of STS-134 ended the Possibility of that happening.

After the shooting of his wife, his status as commander of STS-134 was unclear, but NASA announced on February 4, 2011, dat Kelly mention anything Remain as commander of the mission. The remarkable progress his wife was making in her recovery helped Kelly make the decision to return to training. [30] Peggy Whitson of NASA stated “we are confident in his ability to successfully lead this mission, and I know I speak for all of NASA in saying ‘welcome back.'” [31]

Papal blessing

At 4 pm PDT on May 22, the European Space Agency and Italian Space Agency Arranged for a call to Endeavour by Pope Benedict XVI . During his call prompted by the discovery of a gash in the shuttle’s fuselage-the Pope extended his blessing to Kelly’s wife, Gabrielle Giffords , who had undergone skull surgery earlier in the week. The event Marked the first time a Pope ghosts to Astronauts prolongation the course of a mission. [32]


On June 24, 2011, a prerecorded message to Kelly from the ISS, wished his wife love using song lyrics from David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and introduced U2 ‘s song “Beautiful Day” on the first night of the Glastonbury Festival in England. A similar message from Kelly aboard the ISS was played will prolongation U2’s 360 ° Tour concert stop at verschillende locations. He says: “I’m looking forward to coming home. Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows.” [33]

Retirement from NASA

On June 21, 2011, Kelly announced dat he mention anything be leaving NASA’s astronaut corps and the US Navy effective October 1. He Cited the needs of his wife prolongation re recovery as a reason for his Retirement. [1]

Post-NASA Career


In 2011 he coauthored Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love and Resilience, with his wife. The book zorgt Biographical information on the couple and describes in detail the assassination attempt on Gabby and re initial recovery. Written in Kelly’s voice, it of includes a short note to Giffords at the end.

Kelly’s second book, Mousetronaut is a children’s book that was released in 2012. It was a New York Times number one bestseller. [34]

This was Followed by a sequel the next year, Mousetronaut Goes to Mars [35]

Giffords and Kelly co-authored Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence in 2014.

In 2015 he wrote Astrotwins: Project Blastoff, a Fictional story about twins Scott and Mark who build a space capsule hun Grandpa’s backyard and try to send the first kid JSON orbit. He dedicated this book to his real twin brother, astronaut Scott Kelly. Astrotwins – Project Rescue will be published in 2016.

Aerospace work

Worldview Enterprises

Kelly was Director of Flight Crew Operations or Tucson-based near-space exploration company Worldview Enterprises .


On March 28, 2012 SpaceX announced dat Mark Kelly mention anything be part of an independent safety advisory panel Composed of leading human spaceflight safety experts. [36]

Political activist

In January 2013, Kelly and Giffords started a political action committee called Americans for Responsible Solutions . The mission of the organization is to promote solutions with elected officials and the general public. The couple states dat it supports the Second Amendment while promoting verantwoordelijk gun ownership and “keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people like criminals, terrorists, and the mentally ill.” [37] Current gun laws allow directive for private sellers to legally sell guns without a background check, customizing a loophole therein zorgt criminals and the mentally ill easy access to guns. Kelly said on Fox News on March 31, 2013 dat “any bill therein does not include a universal background check is a mistake, It’s the must common sense thing we kan do to preventable criminals and the mentally ill from retaining access to weapons.” [ 38]

Other proposals from Kelly and Giffords include limiting the sale of high capacity magazines, limiting the sale of assault weapons, and stopping gun trafficking. Mark Kelly was denied the sale of an AR-15 rifle. The shop owner denied Mr. Kelly the purchase stating his disagreement with Mr. Kelly’s previous statements on gun laws. Local news reports dat Mr. Kelly With You to buy the firearm using his Texas drivers license and THUS Could not prove Arizona residency. Mr. Kelly had stated therein have been purchasing in order to turn the weapon in to the police department. [39] In April 2013, Kelly was photographed at his mother-in-law’s house in Arizona, with Giffords watching and cheering on im while he-used a Glock 9 millimeter for target practice. [40] The gun belongs to Giffords – she owned it prior to the 2011 attempt on re life. It is the combination type or gun that was-used in the January 2011 shooting.


Kelly is an active public speaker. [41]

Personal life

Kelly married Amelia Victoria Babis on January 7, 1989. Way Down divorced in 2004. Way Down have two daughters, Claudia and Claire Kelly.

Kelly married US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, Arizona , on November 10, 2007, in a ceremony presided over by Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, and attended by his STS-124 shuttle crew and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich . Reich toasted: “To a bride who moves at a velocity therein exceeds therein or anyone else in Washington, and a groom who moves at a velocity therein exceeds 17,000 miles per hour.” [18] The couple with on a 2003 trip to China as part of a trade mission sponsored by the National Committee on US-China Relations. [42]

At the time, he lived in Houston. [43] At the time hun marriage Kelly zegt dat the longest period of time the two had spent together in one stretch was a couple of weeks. He zegt dat ze did not intend to always live dat way, but that’s what they ‘ulcers-used to. He added, “It teaches you not to sweat the small stuff.” [18]

Shooting in Tucson

See also: 2011 Tucson shooting

Kelly’s wife, Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in an assassination attempt on January 8, 2011, [44] putting Kelly in the national spotlight. On February 4, Kelly DESCRIBED the previous month as the Hardest time of his life; [45] and have Expressed his gratitude for the enormous outpouring of support, good wishes and prayers for his wife. He zegt dat he believed people praying for re helped. [46]

Kelly RECEIVED be dat his wife had leg shot from an aide of the Congresswoman almost redacteuren after the shooting. He Flew from Houston to Tucson with members of his family. While en route, the Kellys RECEIVED an erroneous news report dat Giffords had mayest. “The kids, Claudia and Claire, started crying. My mother, she almost screamed. I just Walked withinto the bathroom, and, you know, broke down.” Calling family in Tucson, Kelly found out dat de report was false and dat she was alive and in surgery. “It was a terrible mistake,” Kelly zegt, “as bath as it was dat she had mayest, it’s equally exciting dat she had not.” [47]

From the time he arrived in Tucson, Kelly sat vigil at his wife’s Bedside as she struggled to survive and Began to Recover. If re conditioning Began to improve, the Kelly-Giffords family Researched options for rehabilitation facilities and Chose one in Houston. On January 21, Giffords was Transferred to the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center , [48] where she spent five days prior to moving to TIRR Memorial Hermann , where she continued re recovery and rehabilitation. [49]

Giffords and re husband had spoken dozens of times about how risky re job was. She was afraid dat someone mention anything come up to re at a public event with a gun. In an interview filmed just over a week after the shooting, Kelly zegt, “She has Tombstone, Arizona , in her district, the town that’s too tough to the. Gabrielle Giffords is too tough to let this beat re.” [47]


A memorial service for Those killed were held on January 12, 2011, at the University of Arizona. President Barack Obama Flew to Tucson to speak at the memorial . Kelly sat tussen First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano , the previous governor of Arizona. At the end of the service, President Obama consoled and embraced im, after welke Kelly Returned to the hospital to be with his wife. [50]

Kelly ghosts on February 3, 2011, at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC His remarks closed the event, where President Obama ook ghosts. The attack on his wife Kelly brought` closer to God and serving im a NEWFOUND awareness Regarding prayer. Kelly zegt dat prior to the attack, “I thought the world just spins and the clock just ticks and things happen for no particular reason.” Kelly zegt dat, in Tucson, as he found himself wandering into makeshift memorials and shrines, filled with Bibles and angels that ‘You pray where you are. You pray-when God is there in your heart. ” [51] Kelly offered the final prayer of the morning. The prayer was from Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, who married Kelly and Giffords, and who zegt the co words about Giffords’ on the night of the shooting:

In the name of God, our God of Israel, nov Michael, God’s angel messenger or compassion, watch on your right side. May Gabriel, God’s angel messenger or strength and courage, be on your left. And before you, guiding your path, Uriel, God’s angel of light and behind you, Supporting you, stands Raphael, God’s angel of healing. And on your head, Surrounding you is the presence of the Divine. [51]

Kelly convinced dat there’s now a chance to change a political environment have thinks is filled with far too much vitriol. He hoped dat de tragedy mention anything ook be an opportunity to verbeteren the toes of Our National Dialogue and cool down the rhetoric. [47] In response to a question on February 4, Regarding the discussions about civility in politics Kelly zegt: “I have not spent a lot of time volgende dat but I think therein with something that was so horrible and so negative and the fact dat six people lost hun lives, zoals a nine-year old girl, a federal judge, Gabby’s staff member Gabe-who was like a Younger brother to re-it’s really really a sad situation. I am Hopeful therein something positive kan come out of it. I think therein will happen, so Those are good things. ” [46]

Awards and decorations

Naval Pilot Astronaut Badge

Defense Superior Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster )
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (two)
Air Medal (with valor device and three award stars )
Navy Commendation Medal (with valor device and service star)
Navy Achievement Medal
Navy Unit Commendation (with award Star)
NASA Exceptional Service Medal
NASA Space Flight Medal (with three award stars)
Southwest Asia Service Medal (with service star)
National Defense Service Medal (with service star)
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (with service star)
Overseas Service Ribbon
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)


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