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Arab News - - COFFEE BREAK -

CAPE CANAVERAL: In his new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, re­tired as­tro­naut Scott Kelly gives an un­flinch­ingly blunt take on his US record-break­ing year in space and the chal­leng­ing life events that got him there.

This is not your usual as­tro­naut’s mem­oir.

Kelly re­counts dump­ster div­ing on the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion for dis­carded meals af­ter a sup­ply cap­sule was de­stroyed and end­ing up with “some dude’s used un­der­wear” in his hands. He writes about the con­ges­tion, headaches and burn­ing eyes he en­dured from high car­bon diox­ide lev­els and the feel­ing no one cared at Mis­sion Con­trol in Hous­ton.

In his book, Kelly tells how prostate cancer surgery al­most got him banned from space sta­tion duty, and how his vi­sion prob­lem dur­ing an ear­lier space­flight al­most cost him the one-year mis­sion, which spanned from March 2015 to March 2016.

He tells how he vis­ited a tat­too par­lor be­fore launch and got black dots all over his body to make it eas­ier to take ul­tra­sound tests in or­bit, and how he fash­ioned ex­tra puke bags for a nau­seous crew­mate.

Kelly said his goal in writ­ing “En­durance: A Year in Space, A Life­time of Dis­cov­ery,” was to tell the whole story.

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 The As­so­ci­ated Press. “So I felt like shar­ing is good, but ... the bad stuff, too, makes the story more be­liev­able.”

In the book, he writes about a lit­tle-known in­ci­dent that he says oc­curred dur­ing his first space sta­tion stint in 2010, when a Rus­sian cos­mo­naut came un­teth­ered dur­ing a space­walk and be­gan float­ing away. Luck­ily, Oleg Skripochka hap­pened to hit an an­tenna that bounced him back to­ward the space sta­tion, en­abling him to grab on and save his life, ac­cord­ing to Kelly.

Even though he was aboard the space sta­tion at the time, Kelly said he did not learn about it un­til his year­long mis­sion five years later, when it ca­su­ally came up in con­ver­sa­tion with other cos­mo­nauts. “I was like re­ally? Holy crap. Crazy,” Kelly re­called in an AP in­ter­view.

As­tro­naut Scott Kelly takes a photo of him­self in­side the Cupola, a spe­cial mo­d­ule of the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion which pro­vides a 360-de­gree view­ing of the Earth and the sta­tion. (AP)

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