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Mind if I Take This? It's From Space. Mind if I Take This? It's From Space.

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Space Program

Mind if I Take This? It's From Space.

Astronaut Mark Kelly explains how families communicate with loved ones in orbit.


Pilot Mark Kelly (left) and commander Steve Lindsey (right) at the Kennedy Space Center in 2006.

No reporter likes to be interrupted halfway through an interview—unless by a call from Space.

On Wednesday, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly politely asked to interrupt an interview with National Journal about his upcoming voyage on the Endeavour space shuttle to take a call on his BlackBerry.

"Can I put you on hold for one second? It's my brother calling from the International Space Station."

Kelly explained that his twin brother, Scott Kelly, is a commander aboard the station, which is populated by astronauts from many of the world's industrialized nations and orbits the earth at an average speed of over 27,000 miles per hour.

"There's a little bit of a delay, but it's not that bad. Sometimes [astronauts on the space station] have Internet access, though it's very slow. Normally, when you send them an e-mail, it just sits over at Mission Control for a couple hours before they sync up the Outlook mailbox on the Station."

Mark Kelly, who is married to Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be the skipper for STS-134, which is scheduled to take off in April and is the last shuttle flight on NASA's launch manifest. The agency has curtailed its ambitions for space exploration and canceled plans for another lunar expedition to comply with a spending bill signed into law by President Obama two months ago. NASA's 64-member astronaut corps, which has long been the agency's crown jewel, is facing intense scrutiny as the Obama administration seeks to trim discretionary spending.

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