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Dumpster diving among soiled underwear, DIY barf bags and tattoo dots all over your body: Scott Kelly's memoir reveals what a year in space is really like

October 11, 2017 9:39 PM
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In his new autobiography, retired astronaut Scott Kelly gives an unflinchingly blunt take on his U.S. record-breaking year in space and the challenging life events that got him there.

Kelly recounts dumpster diving on the International Space Station for discarded meals after a supply capsule was destroyed and ending up with 'some dude's used underwear' in his hands.

International Space Station (ISS) crew member Scott Kelly of the U.S. reacts after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. In his new autobiography, the retired astronaut writes about his U.S. record-breaking year in space and the challenging life events that got him there.

In the book, he writes about a little-known incident that he says occurred during his first space station stint in 2010, when a Russian cosmonaut came untethered during a spacewalk and began floating away.

Luckily, Oleg Skripochka happened to hit an antenna that bounced him back toward the space station, enabling him to grab on and save his life, according to Kelly.

Even though he was aboard the space station at the time, Kelly said he didn't learn about it until his yearlong mission five years later, when it casually came up in conversation with other cosmonauts. 'I was like really? Holy crap. Crazy,' Kelly recalled in an AP interview.

He remembered Skripochka had looked shaken, but thought it was because he had been out on his first spacewalk.

He writes about the congestion, headaches and burning eyes he endured from high carbon dioxide levels and the feeling no one cared at Mission Control in Houston.

In his book, Kelly tells how prostate cancer surgery almost got him banned from space station duty, and how his vision problem during an earlier spaceflight almost cost him the one-year mission, which spanned from March 2015 to March 2016.

He tells how he visited a tattoo parlor before launch and got black dots all over his body to make it easier to take ultrasound tests in orbit, and how he fashioned extra puke bags for a nauseous crewmate.

Kelly said his goal in writing '''Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery,' was to tell the whole story.

So many other NASA astronauts' memoirs 'focus on the good stuff and not necessarily the personal things that happened in their lives, things they might not be proud of, things that we all have that makes us normal, relatable people,' he told The Associated Press.

In the book, he writes about a little-known incident that he says occurred during his first space station stint in 2010, when a Russian cosmonaut came untethered during a spacewalk and began floating away.

Luckily, Oleg Skripochka happened to hit an antenna that bounced him back toward the space station, enabling him to grab on and save his life, according to Kelly.

Even though he was aboard the space station at the time, Kelly said he didn't learn about it until his yearlong mission five years later, when it casually came up in conversation with other cosmonauts. 'I was like really? Holy crap. Crazy,' Kelly recalled in an AP interview.

He remembered Skripochka had looked shaken, but thought it was because he had been out on his first spacewalk.

On Wednesday, the Russian Space Agency's press department said it contacted Skripochka, who did not confirm Kelly's account.

'I've often pondered what we would have done if we'd known he was drifting irretrievably away from the station,' Kelly writes.

In this Friday, March 4, 2016 file photo, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly speaks during a news conference in Houston. In his new autobiography, the retired astronaut writes about his U.S. record-breaking year in space and the challenging life events that got him there.

So does a version for children, 'My Journey to the Stars,' put out by Penguin Random House.

The 53-year-old Kelly said he didn't discover his passion for aviation and space until reading Tom Wolfe's 1979 book 'The Right Stuff' in college.

Kelly writes that he was a terrible student and likely suffered from attention deficit disorder.

The former spaceman also tells how he realized right before his wedding that he didn't want to go through with it, but did anyway, leading to a troubled marriage and eventually divorce, and how he initially didn't want 'that space station stink' on him - getting space station assignments - for fear it would limit his shuttle-flying opportunities.

He flew twice on space shuttles and had two extended stays at the space station, sharing the entire 340-day mission, his last, with Russian Mikhail Kornienko.

Kelly figured he might write a book, given it was NASA's longest single spaceflight ever.

Kelly's identical twin brother, Mark, also a former Navy pilot and NASA astronaut as well as author, was among the several people who read early drafts.

Scott Kelly devotes several pages to the 2011 shooting of his sister-in-law, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Back on Earth and now retired for 1 ½ years, Kelly said he misses being in space.

He credits that saying to a Russian crewmate, Gennady Padalka, the world's most experienced spaceman, and isn't sure the saying made it into the book.

Also read: SpaceX delays fully recycled rocket and capsule launch

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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