Astronaut Scott Kelly
was destined for the stars
I WAS A TERRIBLE student, always staring out windows or
looking at the clock, waiting for class to be over. My teachers
scolded, then chastised, then finally—some of them—ignored
me. I managed to graduate from high school, in the bottom
half of my class. I went to the only college I was accepted to.
One day I walked into the campus bookstore to buy snacks
and a display for a book caught my eye—The Right Stuff, by
I picked up a copy and its first sentences dropped me
into the stench of a smoky field at the Naval Air Station in
Jacksonville, Florida, where a young test pilot had just
been killed and burned beyond recognition. The scene cap-
tured my attention like nothing else I had ever read. I was
captivated by the description of the Navy test pilots, young
hotshots catapulting off aircraft carriers, testing unstable
airplanes. This wasn’t just an exciting adventure story.
This was a life plan. These young men, flying jets in the
Navy, did a real job that existed in the real world. So was
flying in space for NASA. These were hard jobs to get, I
understood, but some people did get them. It could be done.
I closed the book late that night a different person. I felt like
I had found my calling.
I’ve been thinking about the whole arc of my life, and I
always think about what it meant to me to read The Right
Stuff as a young man. I feel certain that I wouldn’t have done
any of the things I have if I hadn’t read that book—if Tom
Wolfe hadn’t written it.—Scott Kelly in Endurance
Adapted from Endurance by Scott Kelly. Copyright © 2017 by Scott Kelly. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
COVER S TORY
Found ın space
BY STEVE FISHER
Scott Kelly re;ecting on his
pending yearlong space mission
from inside a Soyuz simulator at
the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training
Center outside Moscow.