A Lifetime of Service

About Mark

Mark Kelly, Richard Kelly, Patricia Kelly, and Scott Kelly.

Growing Up

Mark is the son of two police officers. Growing up, he and his twin brother Scott learned the importance of a hard day’s work. Mark’s family struggled at times to make ends meet, and he began working at the Dairy Queen when he was a teenager before becoming an EMT.

A young Mark Kelly sits with his grandmother on a fountain shortly after graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and joining the Navy.

Attending Public Schools

Mark attended public schools from elementary school through the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Mark earned his B.S. degree in marine engineering and nautical science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and later an M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

In the Navy

In the Navy, Mark served as a combat pilot and flew 39 missions in Operation Desert Storm on the aircraft carrier USS Midway. He has logged more than 5,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft and completed over 375 carrier landings. Mark is the recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and multiple Air Medals.

Space shuttle taking off

35 Times the Speed of Sound

Mark Kelly sits in the commander’s seat of the Shuttle Endeavour while in orbit above Earth.

Commanding the Space Shuttle

In 1996, Mark was selected as an astronaut for NASA in the same class as his twin brother Scott. He flew his first of four missions into space in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour and a decade later commanded the Space Shuttle’s final mission. He spent more than 50 days in space and lived on the International Space Station.

Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords at their wedding in 2007. Gabby is smiling as Mark, wearing his Navy uniform, kisses her on the head.

Meeting Gabby

Mark and Gabby were married in 2007. After an assassination attempt nearly took Gabby’s life, she retired from Congress, but has continued her important work and remains Mark’s partner and best friend.

Mark Kelly, wearing his NASA flight jacket, poses for a picture with a young kid wearing an astronaut costume and space helmet.

Retiring from NASA

In 2011, Mark retired from NASA after commanding the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final flight. In all, he served 25 years in the Navy and at NASA, where he learned the importance of quick thinking, working together to get the job done, and serving our country.

Mark and Gabby smiling and holding hands over coffee

The Next Mission

The Kelly family in their hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

Home in Tucson

Gabby and Mark live in Tucson with their dog Nelson and they frequently play host to their new granddaughter, Sage. Mark’s daughter Claire recently graduated from Arizona State University and his oldest daughter Claudia, a student at the University of Arizona, lives in Tucson.

Mark Kelly speaks to supporters at a campaign rally.

Serving Arizona in the U.S. Senate

Mark took office in December 2020 after Arizonans elected him to fill out the remainder of the late Senator John McCain’s term. Taking office during a pandemic, Mark immediately got to work, reaching across the aisle to deliver results that put Arizona first.