Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is a retired astronaut and US Navy Captain with 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft, 375 aircraft carrier landings, 39 combat missions and more than 50 days in space.
As a Naval Aviator, Kelly flew combat missions during the Gulf War. He received initial training on the A-6E Intruder attack aircraft. He was then assigned to Attack Squadron 115 (VA-115) in Atsugi, Japan, and made two deployments to the Persian Gulf on the aircraft carrier USS Midway, flying 39 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm.
The winner of many awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He is one of only two individuals who has visited the International Space Station on four different occasions.
Kelly’s identical twin brother, Scott, is also an astronaut who served as commander of both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. They share the distinction of being the only siblings who have traveled in space.
Kelly was thrust into the national spotlight in January 2011 after his wife, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in an assassination attempt in Arizona.
Kelly, the son of two police officers, is from West Orange, New Jersey. He received a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy graduating with highest honors in 1986. In 1994, he received an M.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.