After Barry Wilmore came back to Earth on 11th March, for the first the University of Tennessee, Knoxville was out of space for a period of six months.
However, that is about to change since Scott Kelly, a UT’s Space Institute Graduate, will start a one-year mission in space later this week, giving the University an impressive time of being represented for almost a year and a half in space.
Recently, Kelly told about the obstacles of being an astronaut and the promise that science and technology holds for graduates.
“It’s a great field to work in, it’s very challenging, very rewarding,” said Kelly. “There’s a very bright future for aerospace engineers, or any engineers, or people in technical fields across the board.”
Kelly was a test pilot in the US navy and was able to get his master’s degree in aviation science as a part of UTSI’s collaboration with them. The program enabled pilots to get class credits since they train very hard.
He also explained that the in a generation of the internet being used frequently than ever, tapes of lectures and classes could be sent to him through mail, which he would study, do his projects and revert back with the same.
“The amount of effort it takes to become a test pilot and the academics and flying that we do is very relatable to a degree in aviation systems,” said Kelly, in an interview from Moscow. “The reason why so many guys have gone there is because it is a great partnership with the Navy and a program that allows us to leverage our test pilot school training toward a master’s degree.”
His twin brother Mark will remain on the home planet while Kelly spends the next 12 months on the ISS, with the comparison of their bio data being used to study about the effects of a trip to, for example, Mars on a person.
“It’s the challenge of the whole thing, working at something that’s very difficult and working very hard at it,” said Kelly. “Working with not only your crewmates on board, but the people on ground, the control center, the engineers, the scientists, the instructors that prepare us to do this, you know, we’re all one big team.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction that goes into working hard at something that is hard and being successful at it.”