Astronaut Scott Kelly holds the record for the longest ISS stay for his 340-day mission. Now, the former fighter pilot has released a book revealing what life in space is really like.
Released on Tuesday, October 17th, Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery covers Kelly’s four space flights, aiming to provide an honest, balanced take on life in space. “[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 Associated Press reporters. “So I felt like sharing is good, but … the bad stuff, too, makes the story more believable.”
So while Kelly writes about the marvels of living in deep space, he also speaks candidly about the everyday frustrations. His book documents the cramped living areas, the health costs of living in a CO2-heavy environment, the lack of fresh food, and the legendary ISS smell, a combination of “antiseptic, garbage, and body odor.” When asked about his experience in a 2016 press conference, he said, “It seemed like I lived there forever. Maybe occasionally you do go bananas.”
Kelly also touches on more harrowing experiences, like how they almost lost a Russian cosmonaut on his 2010 mission. In his AP interview, he recounts the experience, which he didn’t learn about until five years later. During his first spacewalk, cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka became untethered from the ISS and started floating away. Luckily, Skripochka accidentally hit an antenna that bounced him back towards the station, saving his life.
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