The Playbook

Astronaut Mark Kelly: 'Even Though It's Fun, It's a Continuous Crisis'

When space shuttle commander Mark Kelly led flights into space, he did not delegate. Here he describes his hands-on approach.

Video Transcript

00:11 Mark Kelly: In my role as the commander of the Space Shuttle, I don't delegate. These Space Shuttle flights are very tightly packed with content that requires a team of people both in space and on the ground all doing their jobs. And it's got to be very, very closely managed in flight to make sure everybody completes what they are supposed to be doing and when and doing it correctly.

00:38 Kelly: As an example, I mean, on the flight, day three of the mission, there's a very complicated procedure to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station. And it's managing the checklist, all the things we have to do and keeping track of it. And I would never leave that to somebody else to do it. Also specifically, when we send people outside to do a space walk, I always took the job of the person that puts the crew members in the suits because if you don't do it right and somebody's glove comes off or their helmet or the suit fails... You know, if their glove comes off in space, crew member is dead in seconds. At any given time, there's a thousand things that can go wrong that can kill you. So, I always managed it, the whole flight, as a crisis. Even though it's fun, exciting and I would do it tomorrow if I could, it's a continuous crisis.

Last updated: Feb 12, 2013