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Storied astronaut with local ties pens a new children’s book

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 2:23 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Astronaut Scott Kelly, a former military fighter pilot and test pilot, engineer, retired U.S. Navy captain, but likely best known as the man who spent nearly a year in space, is out with a children’s book inspiring kids to dream big about all the wild places they could sleep.

“Goodnight Astronaut” is the second picture book by the veteran of four space flights.

In an exclusive local interview, Kelly spoke with KWTX about not only about his book, but also the importance of the SpaceX testing facility in McGregor and his close ties to Central Texas.

As for his book, Kelly says his mission was to inspire.

“I’ve had the privilege of sleeping in a lot of interesting places and I thought that what would be a better bedtime story than a book that started with two kids in bed, me and my brother that both become astronauts, but then talking about throughout our lives the cool places I’ve had an opportunity to sleep.”

That includes planes, submarines, Mt. Everest and of course, space.

Kelly said sleeping in all the wild places he’s done in his life and becoming an astronaut was nothing he dreamed about as a young child, until he, too, was inspired by a book.

“Not really because I was kind of a poor student and it wasn’t until I was in college that I came across a book myself, which was Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Right Stuff’ and that inspired me to study and pay attention and do better,” Kelly said.

“It’s not something I ever though I could be a part of but something that once I found some inspiration and never gave up, I was able to realize my dreams.”

Kelly recently moved from Texas to Colorado, but he has close ties to Central Texas.

His wife, Amiko, a former public affairs representative at the NASA, grew in China Spring and still has extended family in the area.

She held down a long, long distance relationship with her then-boyfriend when Kelly spent 340 consecutive days in space from March 2015 to 2016.

The couple married in 2018 after he returned to Earth.

“She’s from China Spring which is nearby Waco and she’s very proud to be from that part of Texas, but she’s also enjoying living here in Colorado now,” Kelly said.

Kelly also talked with KWTX about the SpaceX rocket testing facility in McGregor urging Central Texans to embrace the rumbles knowing it’s vital to the future of space exploration.

“Those rumbles are progress, and those rumbles are jobs that are in a high-tech field,” Kelly said.

“I think the people there should be happy that you have SpaceX contributing to the local economy.”

Kelly said he’s proud to use his life experiences to encourage children to dream big and he felt like there was a never a better time than now, during a worldwide pandemic, to reach out to kids through writing.

“I think it’s important to inspire the next generations,” he said.

“There are lot of challenges out there and we need a lot of motivated and capable people, so I think staying engaged with kids and helping them achieve their dreams is something that’s a very worth use of my time.”

Kelly’s book, “Goodnight Astronaut,” is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, Books A Million and other book dealers.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.