Terry Virts is a U.S. Air Force test/fighter pilot and a NASA veteran of two spaceflights: a two-week mission on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2010 and a 200-day flight to the Space Station in 2015. He is a leader, speaker, and author who is currently working on multiple projects, including a new book and television series.

His seven months in space included piloting the Space Shuttle, commanding the International Space Station, three spacewalks, and performing scientific experiments, all while working closely with multiple international partners. Virts flew with and led Russian Space Agency cosmonauts amidst some of the most tense relations with Russia since the Cold War.

While in space he took more than 319,000 photos—the most of any space mission. These images are an integral component of the IMAX film “A Beautiful Planet,” which Virts helped film and appears in.

In this episode we talk about (in order):

  • What it’s like to take the elevator up to the Space Shuttle
  • His launch-day routines
  • Launching into space
  • Re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere in both the Space Shuttle and Soyuz
  • How the Space Shuttle glides compared to an F-16
  • Commanding the ISS leadership
  • What he looks for in future astronauts
  • His vision of space exploration in the next decade
  • What an astronaut debriefing is like
  • Projects he’s working on right now


Listen to the full podcast below: