Terry Virts: Biography highlights
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.
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.
In July, 2019 Virts made history by beating the world record for any aircraft circumnavigating the planet over the North and South poles. The mission, named One More Orbit, had a record flight time of 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds. Launching from NASA’s Shuttle Facility at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, it broke both the FAI and Guinness World Record title simultaneously, One More Orbit will be released as a feature length documentary directed by Virts on year 2020.
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. In addition, Virts authored the ultimate space collector’s gift, Apo11o: To the Moon and Back. The luxury book is a limited edition, 500 individually numbered, reproduction of the original Apollo 11 flight plan. It contains the documents Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins and the mission control team in Houston used to plan and execute the historical first mission to land, set foot on the Moon and return to Earth.
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 involved in several television and film projects, serves on corporate boards, writes and promotes public policy.
Col. Virts continues to travel the world inspiring audiences with stories from space and his insights into life on Earth. He brings his unique perspective to businesses worldwide on diverse topics such as our environment, global wealth, intercultural leadership, crisis and risk management, innovation, strategy and vision and decision making.
Watch Terry in action
Terry's speaking topics
Leadership Lessons from Space 9
Leadership Lessons from Space 1
Strategy and Vision
Leadership Lessons from Space 4
Leadership Lessons from Space 7
Leadership Lessons from Space 2
Leadership Lessons from Space 5
Debriefing and Feedback
Leadership Lessons from Space 8