Space Double Play: Identical Twin Astronauts Share Jokes Across Final Frontier
Twin brothers Scott Kelly and Mark Kelly, both NASA astronauts, are set to meet in space next year. Mark will command the last mission of the space shuttle Endeavour, STS-134, while Scott will lead the International Space Station's Expedition 26 mission. Full story.
CREDIT: NASA TV
Identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly may have the ultimate brotherly bond. They look alike and talk alike, at times they even joke alike.
So it may not be surprising that the twin jokes were flying Saturday night to mark one of the Kelly brothers' spaceflight. The American brothers pretended to pull a cosmic switcheroo in their space missions. 
Mark Kelly is on Earth. He is older than Scott by six minutes. He and Scott are the and expect to meet up in space in March 2011, when their two space missions will coincide during NASA's final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour.
World's first twin astronauts
After Scott Saturday, Mark called his brother from Russia's Mission Control Center near Moscow. But there was a twist: Mark pretended to be his brother Scott, and pretended that the twins had swapped places just before the on Oct. 7.
"Hey Mark, this is Scott. Six months is a long time in space, so thanks for switching spots with me," Mark said. "Just hope I can remember how to fly that space shuttle!"
"That is pretty funny," Scott replied with a smile.
To be clear, Scott Kelly is definitely in space. In November, he'll take command of the space station to lead the outpost's Expedition 26 crew.
Mark will command Endeavour and dock it to the space station, where Scott will be in charge.
"I'll make sure to bring up all your stuff when I bring Endeavour up," Mark said.
Both Kelly brothers are using Twitter to chronicle their space missions. Scott uses the name StationCDRKelly, while Mark writes under the moniker ShuttleCDRKelly.
When Mark walked his brother out to the launch pad Oct. 7, he posted photos from cell phone every step of the way.
"It was exciting to watch him rocket off into space one more time," Mark said on Oct. 7. This is the third spaceflight for Scott Kelly. Mark also has flown on three space missions.
And the family connections didn't stop there for Scott.
After the call from his brother Saturday, Scott Kelly took a call from his teenage daughter Samantha. He wished a belated happy birthday to her and his other daughter Charlotte, who both celebrated birthdays within the last few weeks.
Samantha asked her father for permission to get a new cell phone, and used his space mission as what may be the ultimate bargaining chip for a teenager's need for a mobile device.
"Can I have an iPhone so I can keep up with your trip?" Samantha asked her father.
Kelly feigned audio troubles from space.
"I'm sorry," Kelly said with a smile. "I didn't hear that."
"Pleeeaaassee!" his daughter asked again.
But that was the end of the space family small talk. The microphone at Russia's Mission Control Center moved on and Kelly and his crewmates got down to business.
Scott and two Russian crewmates joined three other astronauts already living aboard the space station when their Soyuz docked Saturday. The newcomers plan to spend about 5 1/2 months at the station. Scott will take command of the station in November.
Space jokes for space twins
In-jokes and sibling rivalry are nothing new for the Kelly twins. They grew up in West Orange, N.J., were co-captains on their high school swim team, joined the Navy and even entered test pilot school at the same time.
"Pretty much every day we would get into fist fights, so it was tough for my mom. She'd try to break 'em up, then some of the fights would last hours and hours," Mark said in a NASA interview before his brother launched Oct. 7
Still, their parents worry when the Kelly brothers fly in space, and will likely worry twice as much when both brothers are flying in orbit together next year.
"They certainly get nervous when we fly, but I think it's like all parents do," Scott told SPACE.com before his mission launched.
- Video: Astronaut Twins Headed to Space
- Graphic: Inside and Out: The International Space Station
- Soyuz Spacecraft Docks at Space Station With New Crew
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