Four months after releasing “Gabby: A Story of Hope and Courage” with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, retired astronaut Mark Kelly has announced that he is working on a different kind of memoir, titled “Mousetronaut: A Partially True Story.”
The children’s book was inspired by Kelly’s first shuttle flight, when he traveled into orbit with 18 “mice-tronauts.”
Kelly told the Associated Press that during the flight he noticed 17 mice clinging to their cage, but that one mouse “seemed comfortable through the whole mission, like he was enjoying it.”
While Kelly would spend another 10 years as an astronaut and orbit the earth more than 200 times, he never forgot that first encounter with the furry space traveler.
His new book will follow the adventures of one mouse in space who, in spite of being the smallest member of the crew, must save the day.
“After traveling in space over five million miles with these very small space explorers, I take great pleasure in telling their story,” Kelly said in a statement. “While astronauts get all of the credit, we are really just part of a larger or in this case smaller team.”
Paula Wiseman, the book’s editor, said that Kelly, father to two daughters, hopes to inspire children interested in space exploration.
“He wanted a way to make the experience of being in space tangible for young readers,” Wiseman told ABCNews.com in an email. “While the story is fictional, working with Mark Kelly and his extensive knowledge of the realities of space travel has been interesting and fun.”
After piloting his final mission on the Endeavor space shuttle last year, Kelly said his retirement gave him the freedom to finally tell the story of an intrepid mouse in space. “With NASA as an employer, it becomes a little complicated,” Kelly told the AP.
“Mousetronaut: A Partially True Story” will be released by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in October.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.