Another space book under my belt but this time it wasn’t fiction. Space has always been an interest for the people of Earth, it is full of unknowns and only a few people have experienced it. I have always had questions about it and never really got the answers except from the movies; we all know how accurate those can be! The author, Scott Kelly, takes us up into space with him telling us what it is really like to be an astronaut and what it is like to live up there for a year.
Scott Kelly didn’t always know he wanted to be an astronaut but when he set his sights on that goal, nothing was going to stop him. From his childhood to becoming a Navy Test Pilot, flying his first space shuttle up until he arrived back home after a year of working on the International Space Station, Kelly talks about his triumphs and challenges through his life. His story is simple: anything you put your mind to, you can achieve.
I bought this book for my sister’s boyfriend for christmas. Before I wrapped it, I looked through it and was interested in reading about the first person to spend a consecutive year in space. The pictures were what caught my eye first but what stuck with me was the fact that no one else has done what Kelly has done (yet) and this book would be a really true insight into what space is really like. We’ve all seen those space movies and have the idea in our head about what it would be like; some is true and some is way, way off!
The book is set up so that the chapters jump back and forth between him begin on the ISS and his past, starting at 11 years old. Sometimes there are dates at the beginning of the chapters and sometimes there isn’t so you have to be aware of the time hops. At the beginning it isn’t confusing at all but as the past starts to catch up with the present, you have to really pay attention.
My favorite chapters were the ones where he is actually living on the ISS and working his way through the year up there. Some of the chapters about his earlier life were a little long and uneventful but they are needed. My favorite chapter outside of the space ones was chapter 8. It was all about becoming a Navy pilot, the training he had to go through and all the planes he got to fly in including the fighter jets. These chapters go over the qualifications you need to have in order to be selected for astronaut school which is very interesting because I had no clue what you had to do.
We all want to know what it is like to be in space and this book has an incredible insight and answers just seeping from the pages. I loved learning about everything: from daily work schedules to trying to sleep in zero gravity, eating, going to the bathroom, cleaning and all the risks that comes with it. There is a lot of personal sacrifice but the rewards seem worth it and a once in a life time experience. You get to see earth like no other human has except fellow astro/cosmonauts. The people living on the ISS still get to do normal things like watch new movies together, vote, video conference with their families, tweet, get days off.
Scott Kelly does a great job describing space and what life is like living up there. His gives in-depth descriptions about what it is like to see the sun rising and setting every few hours, the pretty blue water of the Bahamas, a hurricane. He also includes a lot colored photos which are amazing to look at. I loved all of them. One description that I giggled at was him saying that the first time you open the hatch to the space station, it is the familiar smell of welded metal. I had just had a new exhaust system installed on my truck and i would smell the welded metal. I thought “Huh, I wonder if that is what he was talking about!!” Probably not but now when I get a small whiff of it, I think that’s what space smells like!
We learned that there are lots of trials in space both as a team and in personal lives: there were 2 resupply shuttles that were lost, the increase of CO2, technology going down, astronauts not being able to go home as planned, space junk coming dangerously close to hitting the space station, family deaths and injuries. Space travel tests and pushes you. I had no idea that his twin bother was married to Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Senator who was shot. He talks about this happening on one of his mission and you could tell it was tearing him apart that he couldn’t be there for his brother and the rest of the family.
Kelly does a good job of conveying emotions he was feeling to the reader making us feel like we are traveling with him. When he was talking about only being half way through his mission, I let out a sigh and got a little discouraged because I felt like he had already been up there for so long! At the end of the book when he started getting ready to go home, I started feeling nostalgic like he did.
Something that I had a random thought on was the length of the book. It is 365 pages. Was that intentional, signifying his time in space? Or was that by chance it ended up being that long. It would be cool if it was on purpose.
So what was the goal of his year in space? Was it just to do it and break a record? Not really.. It was to see how the body reacts to the atmosphere and trials it is put through. Our goal is making it to Mars and it takes a year to get there.
Amazing insight about living in space
The chapters about his early lifewere kind of slow
Overall: If you like autobiographies, want to learn about life in space and are interested in space, this is the book for you! Even if you aren’t that interested in space travel, this might get you hooked on it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Up Next: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel