By Merissa Anderson
Navy Capt. Scott Kelly, an astronaut best known for his year-long voyage on the International Space Station, will be visiting Hutchinson Community College for what should be an awe-inspiring speech April 17 through the Dillon Lecture Series and Cosmosphere.
According to Kelly’s web site, scottkelly.com, he is a former military fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut, and a retired U.S. Navy captain. He is a veteran of four space flights, and Kelly commanded the International Space Station on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission to the ISS. In Oct. 2015, he set the record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space, the single longest space mission by an American astronaut.
Kelly resides in Houston.
Robin Woodworth, HutchCC Administrative Assistant to the President and Dillon Lecture Series Coordinator, said she believes that Kelly’s speech on will be important for the community and campus.
“He encourages people to dream and keep persevering and, as he says, ‘The sky is not the limit’,” Woodworth said. “I hope students will take advantage of this, because it’s an opportunity that a lot of people won’t have. I just hope that they would attend all of the Dillon Lectures, because even though they may not know the person or recognize the name, they certainly have something we feel would be a good message for this.”
Sam Wilson, a HutchCC sophomore and box office associate at the Cosmosphere, said he has been looking forward to Kelly’s lecture for months.
“When I first heard that Scott Kelly was coming to Hutchinson, I was ecstatic,” Wilson said. “Being able to hear first-hand accounts of monumental accomplishments, such as living through a long-duration space flight, is exhilarating. It definitely gives me hope for the future of space flight.”
On average, a Dillon Lecture will draw in a crowd of 1,500 people to 1,800, according to Woodworth. But, because of the attention that Kelly’s inspiring adventure has drawn, upwards of 2,300 people are expected to attend.
“I think this will probably be the largest and most-attended lecture,” Woodworth said. “The Cosmosphere spoke to us when we were selecting speakers for the 2018 lectures and suggested that we partner up with Capt. Scott Kelly. They certainly had followed his year in space and thought that he would be a good speaker. It’s a win-win situation for us.
Admittance into the lecture is free for HutchCC students, faculty and staff with an ID. For anyone else interested in attending Kelly’s lecture, tickets are $10.
“From what I can tell, he’s going to tie in his life experiences and struggles from when he was younger,” Woodworth said. “He’ll also talk about how he has endured obstacles and how he never would have imagined he would make history.”