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20 Questions

Mark Kelly

A retired U.S. Navy captain, engineer and NASA astronaut, Mark Kelly knows a few things about safety and security.

BY WORTH | 20 Questions | May 25, 2016
20 Questions Mark Kelly Illustration by Graham Smith

His wife, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in a 2011 assassination attempt, and the couple founded the group Americans for Responsible Solutions in 2013, following the Sandy Hook mass shooting, to support gun safety legislation.

  • 01 What are you reading?
    I’m in the middle of The Martian [by Andy Weir] even though I’ve seen
  • 02 How often do you travel?
    I traveled 216 days last year.
  • 03 What’s your favorite city?
    New York. In New York, you’re not missing anything.
  • 04 Do you fly private or commercial?
    Commercial—usually American Airlines because it’s the most convenient out of Tucson [where he lives].
  • 05 What do you never travel without?
    My iPad, laptop and Bose noise-canceling headphones.
  • 06 What is the worst mistake you’ve made?
    Having flown in space four times and commanded the space shuttle, it’s hard to say I’ve made a major mistake. That doesn’t mean that I made all the right decisions, either. I might’ve been lucky.
  • 07 Do you have a favorite space shuttle?
    Endeavour. It’s the space shuttle I flew on my first flight and my last flight, which was also the last flight of Endeavour.
  • 08 What is your favorite film?
    A long-standing favorite is Rocky. It’s the classic underdog story.
  • 09 What are you watching on TV?
    I like Game of Thrones. Recently I started watching The Big Bang Theory.
  • 10 Beer, wine or spirits?
    I drink a little beer and wine. I like a good cabernet, like a Jordan or a Canis. With beer, I’m good with a Budweiser.
  • 11 What watch do you wear?
    I really like the new Breitling Emergency. It communicates with the SARSAT [Search and Rescue Satellite] network. If you crash an airplane or are out on a sailboat and need to be rescued, this watch has its own emergency personal locator beacon that communicates with a satellite. [Kelly is a Breitling ambassador.]
  • 12 Favorite restaurant?
    Mastro’s Steakhouse. They’re in multiple cities I travel to frequently, so I don’t have to go searching for a good restaurant.
  • 13 What do you drive?
    My wife Gabby got me a Corvette for my 50th birthday. It’s a 2014 C7 Corvette white convertible. It’s your typical Apollo-era astronaut car.
  • 14 Do you race it?
    There’s a track that I drive on, but I’ve spun around and off the track before—I don’t want to do that in my own car.
  • 15 What keeps you up at night?
    I’m a pretty good sleeper. But like any parent, I worry about my kids even when there’s nothing to worry about.
  • 16 What’s your worst habit?
    Running. Not sharing enough information with my mother-in-law.
  • 17 What the best advice you’ve ever received?
    Always take care of your people.
  • 18 Favorite philanthropy?
    The organization Gabby and I run, Americans for Responsible Solutions. I’m a gun owner. I’ve got six or seven guns.
  • 19 Favorite gun?
    My 9mm Glock. When I was in my 20s and flying for the Navy, it was the gun I flew into combat with.
  • 20 How would you like to be remembered?
    As somebody who made a difference in regard to exploration, science and STEM education, and with regard to how violence affects our communities.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Worth.

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