A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

by Scott Kelly

Number of pages: 400

Publisher: Knopf

BBB Library: Personal Success

ISBN: 978-1524731595

About the Author

Scott Kelly is a NASA astronaut best known for spending a record-breaking year in space. He is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and veteran of four spaceflights. Kelly commanded the space shuttle ENDEAVOUR in 2007 and twice commanded the International Space Station. He resides in Houston, Texas. You can follow him on Facebook at NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, and on Instagram and Twitter at @StationCDRKelly.


Editorial Review

A stunning, personal memoir from the astronaut and modern-day hero who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station—a message of hope for the future that will inspire for generations to come.  In Endurance, we see the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the infinite wonder of the galaxy.

Book Reviews

"Captivating, charming. . . . [Kelly] pulls back the curtain separating the myth of the astronaut from its human realities. . . . It is easy to imagine future generations of explorers and daredevils harnessing the lessons and truths within the pages of Endurance as the blueprints for their own trips into the unknown."

“Kelly brings life in space alive—the wonder and awe of it, and also the jagged edges, the rough parts of living in confined quarters in an alien element, far from everything familiar and beloved. . . .Endurance, with its honest, gritty descriptions of an unimaginable life, a year off Earth, is as close as most readers will come to making that voyage themselves.”

"Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and one of the most popular responses is one that makes parents swoon: an astronaut. This hopeful enthusiasm wanes when their son or daughter starts bringing notes home from the teacher, complaining that they have the attention span of gnat, and need to stop parkouring on school property. Mums and dads, take heart. This description isn’t far off from a young Scott Kelly, not the bookish type either, and yet it was a book he happened upon that dramatically changed the trajectory of his life: Tom Wolfe’sThe Right Stuff. Kelly was so inspired by this examination of the courageous test pilots who made high speed flight and space exploration possible that he was able to channel all of his frenetic energy into achieving the goal of becoming one.Endurancetraces this journey, and chronicles the year Kelly spent on the International Space Station, as well as the effects it had on his body (information NASA needs as they plan a mission to Mars). Kelly answers many of the questions we have about life in space, from the profound to the mundane (turns out astronauts give bad haircuts and unclog toilets like the rest of us earthbound peeps). He also imparts the lessons and wisdom gleaned from his extraordinary adventures. Chief among them, and especially apropos given the increasingly divisive world we live in: “Putting this space station into orbit…is the hardest thing that humans have ever done, and it stands as proof that when we set our minds to something hard, when we work together, we can do anything, including solving our problems here on Earth.”Enduranceis a fascinating, moving, uplifting read."

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Wisdom to Share

My mother taught me that small steps add up to giant leaps. So I took the steps that led me to space.

We live in the space station, the way you live in a building. We work in it, the way scientists work in a laboratory, and we also work on it, the way mechanics work on a boat.

Unlike in the movies Interstellar and 2001, where the visiting spacecraft zips up to a space station and locks onto it, a hatch pops open, and people pass through, all over the course of a few minutes. In reality, we operate with the knowledge that one spacecraft is always a potentially fatal threat to another—a bigger threat the closer it gets—and so we move slowly and deliberately.

Most of what station astronauts do is science. On the ISS, science takes up about third of my time—from growing plants, to experimenting on rodents and on myself.

Spacewalks are much riskier than any other part of our time in orbit—there are so many more variables, so many pieces of equipment that can fail and procedures that can go wrong.

Spacewalks aren’t only necessary for explorations, but also for performing maintenance, repairs, or assembly on the exterior of the spacecraft

On Earth, walking is done by feet. In space, it’s done by hands.

On Earth, we look at everything through the filter of the atmosphere, which dulls the light, but here, in the emptiness of space, the sun’s light is white-hot and brilliant. The bright sunshine bouncing off the Earth is overwhelming. I’m staring in awe at the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen.

I’ve been asked often what we learned from our year in space. Personally, I’ve learned that nothing feels as amazing as water. I’ll never take water for granted again.

I’ve learned that most problems aren’t rocket science, but when they are rocket science, you should ask a rocket scientist. In other words, I don’t know everything.

I’ve learned that an achievement that seems to have been accomplished by one person probably has hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people’s minds and work behind it, and I’ve learned that it’s a privilege to be the embodiment of that work.