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Terry Virts

NASA astronaut, International Space Station commander, and author of How to Astronaut

Terry Virts is in a very small, prestigious club. He is one of only four astronauts in history to have piloted the space shuttle, flown a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, performed three spacewalks, and commanded the International Space Station (ISS). He also famously took 300,000 photographs from space—more than any other astronaut.

Commander Virts’s book How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth is a firsthand account of his over 200 days in space—an experience few will ever know. It captures the highs and lows, with humor and wonder, through stories that range from survival training and space shuttle emergencies to the sublime beauty, unexpected discoveries, and mundane rituals of daily life in space.

Virts peels back the curtain with candid revelations on what it takes to become an astronaut as well as anecdotes from his time as Crew Medical Officer aboard a space shuttle (he performed the first-ever dental filling in orbit), working with Russian Space Agency cosmonauts, and performing scientific experiments aboard the ISS. He gives an uncensored and wildly entertaining account of space travel that include giving a coworker a haircut, caring for small animals, going for a daily run on the treadmill, and emptying the waste system (toilet) on the space shuttle.

Colonel Terry Virts (retired) served in the US Air Force as a test fighter pilot, and NASA astronaut on two spaceflights. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Harvard Business School. He is also the author of View from Above (National Geographic, 2017) and one of the stars (and photographers) of the IMAX film, A Beautiful Planet. He recently directed his first film, One More Orbit.

An internationally in-demand speaker, Verts inspires audiences with stories from space as well as insights into life on earth. Terry brings his unique perspective to businesses around the world in such diverse topics as our environment, global wealth, intercultural leadership, crisis and risk management, innovation, strategy and vision, and decision-making. He is currently involved in several television and film projects, as well as serving on corporate boards, writing, and promoting public policy.

Speaking Topics

  • Our Beautiful Planet and Its Fragile Environment
  • Why your Organization Needs to Innovate Like the Apollo Program
  • Strategy and Vision for Intercultural Leadership
  • The Importance of Innovation in Design
  • Risk and Crisis Management
  • Our Future in the Galaxy


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Books by Terry Virts