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    NASA's Kelly hails Duque appointment as Spain science minister

    18 de junio de 2018

    Vienna, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Scott Kelly, the NASA astronaut who has spent the most time in space on a single mission, on Monday congratulated former Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque for his appointment as Madrid's science minister, wishing him luck in the post.

    "I think that Spain should be very happy that Pedro Duque is science minister," Kelly told EFE in Vienna when he learned that the Spanish ex-astronaut had become the new science minister within the government of Pedro Sanchez.

    "Pedro Duque is brilliant, an intelligent person with a sense of humor and someone who works hard. I'm proud to say that he's my friend," Kelly added.

    Kelly learned from EFE of Duque's appointment and did not hide his happiness: "Pedro is a good guy. Pedro, congratulations!"

    "We were colleagues in the 1996 NASA astronaut class. He was the first from our class to fly (in space) and I was the first American to do so," he recalled.

    "It's a positive thing for a former astronaut to be minister," said Kelly, who this week is participating in a UN forum on space that runs through Friday.

    "Good luck, Pedro," he concluded.

    The 54-year-old Kelly, now retired from NASA, spent a total of 340 days on the International Space Station on a single mission, returning to Earth in March 2016 after studying physical and psychological changes in space to determine if human beings are prepared to travel to Mars, a journey that would take 2 1/2 years.