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Astronaut Mark Kelly & Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Visit Winter Park Institute

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Astronaut Mark Kelly. Photo: Winter Park Institute

Astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords are speaking Tuesday at the Winter Park Institute.

Giffords was shot in 2011 outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords survived, and along with her husband Mark Kelly, became outspoken advocates for gun safety.

Kelly says that’s what part of tonight’s talk will be about. “Gun safety, and how we can live in safer communities. We’ve got a pretty high rate of gun violence compared to other countries, and we can do a lot better than that.”

He plans to talk about his time as a fighter pilot and NASA astronaut, too. Kelly flew on four space shuttle missions, including one just months after his wife was shot.

His first trip to space was on Endevour in 2001. “At about Mach 15,” Kelly recalls, “looking over my shoulder for the first time as a round ball flouting in the roundness of space which is an incredible experience to see the Earth for the first time, really, as a planet.”

He and his twin brother Scott Kelly are participating in NASA’s twin study examining the effects of space travel on humans. Scott spent a year in space while Mark spent the year on earth.

The Winter Park Institute at Rollins College hosts speakers throughout the year. Most recently, the forum hosted Star Trek’s George Takai.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »