Mark Kelly graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1986 with a degree in Marine Engineering and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He completed his initial pilot training in Texas and was selected to fly the A-6E Intruder aircraft. Upon completing that training he was stationed in Atsugi, Japan and assigned to a squadron aboard the USS Midway. Mark made two deployments to the Arabian Gulf and flew 39 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm destroying Iraqi military targets, including two ships and providing close air support for coalition forces.
Mark received his Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1994. He served as a test pilot in the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate flying the A-6E, EA-6B and F/A-18 aircraft. He also served as an instructor at the Naval Pilot School teaching transonic flying qualities, departure and spin testing and weapons systems testing.
Mark was selected as an astronaut in 1996 in the same class as his identical twin brother Scott Kelly. Mark flew his first of four missions into space in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has made four trips to the International Space Station and has spent over 50 days in space.
His twin brother Scott Kelly, also a retired Navy Captain served aboard the International Space Station on a yearlong mission. They are the only siblings who have traveled in space.
He is the recipient of multiple DOD and NASA awards including two Defense Superior Service Medals, the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Air Medals.
He has logged over 5,000 flight hours in more than 50 types of aircraft and has 375 aircraft carrier landings. Mark retired as a Captain in the U.S. Navy and NASA Astronaut in 2011 following his final shuttle mission to aid his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, in her recovery following an attempt on her life.