Year-in-Space Astronaut Scott Kelly Proves He is a Funny Guy

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: The KSC Visitors Center drew a large crowd today for a special appearance by Astronaut Scott Kelly. During his nearly one hour of remarks, he proved he is a funny guy, delivering several laughs.

Scott Kelly completed four space flights and served as Commander aboard the International Space Station on three expeditions. In 2015, Kelly began a year-long mission aboard the International Space Station. The purpose of this mission was to learn how the body reacts and adapts to prolonged habitation in space. That research is critical in assisting scientists and engineers in preparation for future human exploration of Mars. Kelly retired from NASA in 2016 after his return to Earth.

Among the funny moments in Kelly’s talk:

1. It is great to be here today. Actually – its great to be anywhere with gravity.

2. When I was in first grade, I wanted to play baseball for the Mets. But one of my classmates said he wanted to be an astronaut, which sounded cooler. So I changed my line. I’ve wanted to go back and find that kid and see what he is doing today. Maybe he is playing baseball for the Mets.

3. When you get to the launch pad on the Shuttle, it is fueled with 5 million pounds of liquid hydrogen. The pad is abandoned except for the close-out crew and you. On the Soyuz, it is fully fueled with LOX and Kerosene. You get to the pad and there are a 100 people there. Their philosophy – if you are going on a long trip, your friends should be there as you leave. As I am walking through the crowd, there is a guy smoking there.

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly speaks to visitors at Kennedy Space Center about his “Year in Space.” Photo credit: Bill Jelen / We Report Space

4. While I was up there for a year, we had a Russian Progress crash and a SpaceX blew up. The Russians started running out of food and we had to share food with them. We take our urine and turn it into water. We drink it. Then we turn it into urine again. I know what you are thinking, “That guy drank his own pee.” You are wrong. They mixed it all – I drank everyone’s pee. And it still tasted better than water in Florida.

5. If you’ve seen a shuttle launch, it looks like the shuttle lifts slowly on the pad. But if you are in the Shuttle, there is nothing slow about it.

6. Did I ever see an alien in space? No. I visited Area 51. There are no aliens there. They had moved them to Area 52. Don’t tweet that. I don’t want the Men in Black to show up.

7. The best part of being an identical twin? Spare organs.

8. There is a risk of orbital debris hitting the ISS. There is this point where they thought that a satellite had a chance of hitting the ISS. So, NASA has me go around and close all 18 hatches on the USA side. The satellite is coming at us at 17,500 miles per hour, and we are going 17,500 miles an hour – so it is closing at 35,000 miles. The idea is that if the hatches are closed and one module gets hit, the other modules would survive. I finish closing the hatches and go to the Russian side. My Russian crewmates are having lunch. They aren’t closing any hatches. The Russians are more practical. There are two very likely scenarios. One: the satellite misses us which is great. Two: It hits us and we are vaporized. The chance that there is an impact and we survive is so small that they aren’t even preparing for that. We hunker down in the Soyuz. The satellite misses us. We get out – the Russians go back to lunch. I have to spend a few hours re-opening all 18 hatches.

9. During the State of the Union address, President Obama challenged me to Instagram my year in my space and I tried to do that as best I could. One day, during a Tweet Chat, I get a question from President Obama: Do you ever look out the window and just freak out. I answered the only thing that freaks me out is getting a tweet from you. Within seconds, Buzz Aldrin joins the conversation: Mr President – Scott is only 240 miles in space – I went all the way to the Moon. So I got *trolled* by the second man on the moon. Quite possibly the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

10. Soyuz return: Flying the shuttle back – it is like landing an airplane. Really it is like a Rolls Royce down Park Avenue. But the Soyuz, you undock and the two side modules blow off. You are getting pelted by debris from the explosion. Then there is a de-orbit burn and you watch pieces of the ablative material going past the window. You can see the fire scorching your window. It is like you are going over Niagara Falls in a barrel – but it is on fire.

Bill Jelen

When Bill is not covering Florida launches, he is the host of MrExcel.com and the author of 49 books about Microsoft Excel.