Terry Virts

Former commander of the International Space Station and former Endeavour pilot


Terry Virts is a veteran of two spaceflights, a two-week mission onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2010 and a 200-day flight to the Space Station in 2014/2015.

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About Terry Virts


Terry's seven months in space included three spacewalks, piloting the Space Shuttle, performing science experiments, and working closely with multiple international partners, including Russian Space Agency cosmonauts during some of the most stressful US-Russian relations since the cold war. While Terry was in space he took over 300,000 still images, more than on any other space mission, and was an integral part of filming and starring in the recent IMAX film “A Beautiful Planet,” narrated by Jennifer Lawrence.

Terry’s interests go well beyond space, however. His book, “View From Above,” is a National Geographic work that combines some of his best photographs from space with stories that share the experience of spaceflight, perspectives on life on earth, and our place in the cosmos. His passion as a photographer shines through, and this work has been praised by readers as well as fellow authors and photographers.

His desire is to have a global impact on people through speaking, combining the awesome experiences of launch and landing and spacewalks with the sublime views and surprising perspectives he gained on our planet’s environment and global wealth. His speaking topics include risk and crisis management, the importance of strategy and vision, innovation, and intercultural leadership. Terry speaks French and Russian and has lived and worked extensively abroad, bringing a unique and powerful perspective on today’s global environment.

Terry’s background as an F-16 pilot, Test Pilot, and astronaut gives him tremendous insight into operations and safety, and his lessons learned from aviation as well as his personal stories from NASA’s Columbia accident and Shuttle risk management are applicable to any industry. His education at the US Air Force Academy, as an applied mathematics major and French minor, as well as Embry Riddle and Harvard Business School gives him a very broad background.

He graduated with Academic Distinction from the United States Air Force Academy and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was a distinguished graduate of Undergraduate Pilot Training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, and F-16 training at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He has logged over 5,300 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft.

Terry retired from NASA August 2016.

However he has not stood still since returning to earth- he has been involved in multiple projects since returning to earth, including writing, co-hosting National Geographic’s coverage of the recent eclipse, and using his drone and cinematographer skills to film great white sharks off the coast of Mexico, visiting and filming Antarctica and the South Pole, and speaking extensively throughout Asia and Europe. He is currently working on a TV show that will feature a unique region of the earth as it looked from space in each episode, and then Terry going to that place to explore it, meeting the people and experiencing local culture and food.

Speaking Topics


... under the title of Leadership Lessons from Space

  • Strategy and Vision
  • Risk Management
  • Crisis Management
  • Innovation
  • Debriefing and Feedback
  • Wisdom of Crowds
  • Intercultural Leadership
  • Career
  • Global Wealth

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