ARIZONA NEWS

Mark Kelly inducted into U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame

May 6, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:46 pm

Sen. Mark Kelly stands alongside fellow former astronauts at the United States Astronaut Hall of Fa...

Sen. Mark Kelly stands alongside fellow former astronauts at the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Photo by Alexander Wood.

PHOENIX — Arizona Senator Mark Kelly was inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The induction ceremony was staged under the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

“To have played a small part in the world’s greatest space program was a privilege, and to have been selected for this recognition is a true honor,” Kelly said during the ceremony.

According to a press release issued by the Kennedy Space Center, induction into the hall is considered one of the highest honors in the space industry and it acknowledges how Kelly, and fellow inductee Roy D. Bridges Jr., demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in furthering NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery.

Kelly, who was elected to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate in 2020, has served as a U.S. Navy combat pilot and a NASA astronaut.

In 1996, he was selected as an astronaut in the same NASA class as his twin brother, Scott.

Kelly has spent more than 50 days in space, traveling more than 20 million miles.

He completed four Space Shuttle missions, two as pilot and two as commander. After commanding shuttle Endeavour on its final flight, he retired from NASA in 2011.

“I had a dream when I was a kid that I could be the first person to walk on the planet Mars,” Kelly said during the ceremony. “I didn’t quite make it, but I believe that person is alive today. They could be in elementary school, or completing college, or maybe even sitting in this audience — time will tell. But just as always, NASA’s arrow is pointed up, towards the stars. As it should be. And I’ll support these ambitions from my new job in the United States Senate, where I have the honor of representing the State of Arizona.”

Kelly and Bridges comprise the 24th class of astronauts to enter the hall. There are 107 inductees.

Inductees are selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians and journalists in a process administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Kelly is the second sitting senator to be inducted after John Glenn in 1990.

 

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Mark Kelly inducted into U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame