Captain Scott Kelly

History-Making NASA Astronaut; First to Complete a Year-in-Space Mission

Captain Scott Kelly, a NASA astronaut, shares the remarkable story of his year in space – and how personal determination made the difference when meeting challenges on space missions and his personal life. He set the record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space, the single longest space mission by an American astronaut.

Scott recounts the challenges that he and his crew faced on his four missions to space, and what traits helped him overcome these obstacles. Resilience and courage, he affirms, helped him as a young boy who struggled in school to reach for the stars and fulfill his dreams to reach space.

With humor and an engineer’s eye for detail, he covers the extreme dangers in space: the isolation, physical impact on the body and pressures of living so closely in a small cabin, as well as facing the risk of space junk or catastrophic depressurization. No matter what kind of journey we are facing, Scott details how courage and preparation can mean the difference between life and death, or success and failure for a team.

Courage and preparation mean stepping out of comfort zones and venturing into new journeys. Courage points us to “choose to do the hard things,” while resilience allows us to meet the hard times head-on and ask, “What’s next?” Scott relays stories from his rough and tumble childhood, and how he attained the rank of captain in the U.S. Navy. He flew over 8,000 hours in more than 40 aircraft and accomplished over 250 carrier landings throughout his career. He and his twin brother Mark were selected to become astronaut candidates in April 1996; the first relatives to be selected to become astronauts. After completing training, Scott was a crew member and also commanded NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO), a mission where groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists live in Aquarius underwater laboratory, the world’s only undersea research station.

Scott commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions and was a member of the year-long mission to the ISS. Scott was enrolled in a unique study that measured the impact of space travel on his body and compared it to his twin brother, who spent the same year on Earth. The study demonstrated long-lasting changes in the body, including alterations in DNA and cognition. Scott retired from NASA in 2016.

Also a successful author, Scott wrote the best-selling Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery and Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut’s Photographs From a Year in Space, which is a collection of photos documenting his journey on the space station.

Soledad O’Brien

Award-Winning Journalist, Entrepreneur and Host of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist. She is the CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a multi-platform media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues and a thought leader whose public engagement garners wide attention. 

O’Brien has had national impact with her books and speeches, with her presence on the nation’s op-ed pages and on social media, particularly Twitter where she has over 1 million followers. 

O’Brien currently anchors and produces the Hearst Television political magazine program Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, which is distributed by Sony Pictures. She also reports regularly for HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. 

Since 2020 she has hosted the weekly podcast Very Opinionated with Soledad O’Brien. In 2021 she hosted the Audible-original podcast series Growing Up P.O.C. and in 2022, the hour-long radio show and podcast series Everyday Wealth.™ 

She has anchored shows on CNN, MSNBC and NBC, and hosted projects for Fox and A&E. O’Brien has contributed to the three major broadcast networks, Oxygen, Nat Geo, the PBS NewsHour and WebMD. She was a special correspondent on Al Jazeera America’s news program, America Tonight, and produced several documentaries on social issues for the network. 

Earlier in her career, O’Brien anchored a show for MSNBC, before moving on to co-anchor NBC’s Weekend Today and contributing segments to the Today show and NBC Nightly News. In 2003, O’Brien transitioned to CNN, where she was the face of CNN’s morning news shows for many years and a frequent reporter and analyst for breaking news stories and election coverage. She also anchored the CNN documentary unit, where she created the In America documentary series Black in America and Latino in America which she continued to produce under Starfish Media Group as speaking tours. 

O’Brien’s coverage of race issues has won her two Emmy awards; she earned a third for her presidential election coverage, and she is a two-time Peabody winner for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Other awards include the Alfred duPont, Gracie Allen, Clara Barton, Hispanic Heritage, Cronkite, and NAACP’s President’s Award. In 2021 she was awarded the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award, and her documentary Pandemic in Seattle won a Silver Telly Award. 

Upon founding Starfish Media Group, she continued to produce documentaries and series on topics that included youth incarceration, police brutality, veterans with PTSD and the opioid epidemic for Al Jazeera, CNN and the PBS NewsHour. 

Besides HBO Real Sports and Matter of Fact, O’Brien recently hosted American Injustice, a BET Town Hall on the future of criminal justice reform. She was a host of the A&E special Shining a Light: Conversations on Race in America. She was the Host and Executive Producer of the Oxygen series Mysteries & Scandals, as well as O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession and Who Shot Biggie and Tupac, both for Fox. She was also host of National Geographic Channel’s Live From Space and moderator and executive producer of the annual National Geographic Bee. She was Executive Producer of the Lifetime Billboard Music Awards. 

O’Brien frequently speaks on a variety of social issues at college campuses and corporate events. She was named on People Magazine’s list of the 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001 and was on People en Español′s 50 Most Beautiful list in 2004. She was named to Irish American Magazine’s “Top 100 Irish Americans” on two occasions and was on Black Enterprise Magazine’s 2005 Hot List. Also in 2005, she was awarded Groundbreaking Latina of the Year by Catalina Magazine. In 2006 she was featured in the Newsweek cover story “15 People Who Make America Great.” 

She is the author of two books, her critically acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story and Latino in America. 

She has served as a member or director on multiple boards, including the Peabody Awards, the Harlem School of Arts, the National Archives, and the Rand Corporation. She served as chair of the board for The After-School Corporation (now ExpandED Schools). In 2021, she was named to the board of trustees for the Smithsonian National Latino American Museum. 

A graduate of Harvard University, O’Brien later served as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, and she is a frequent commencement speaker on campuses across the country. 

A prominent philanthropist, Soledad and her husband, Brad, created the PowHERful Foundation to help young women get to and through college. The foundation hosts the PowHerful conferences that support hundreds of young women with mentoring programs, professional advice and other services. 

She lives in New York with her husband and four children.