About Colonel Terry Virts

Colonel Terry Virts (ret.) is a U.S. Air Force test / fighter pilot and NASA 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. He is a celebrated thought 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 during 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.

Virts’ National Geographic book, View From Above, combines some of his best photography with stories about spaceflight and perspectives about life on earth and our place in the cosmos.

An in-demand speaker at events across the globe, Virts’ topics include stewarding our environment, better understanding life on earth through the lens of global wealth, risk and crisis management, the importance of innovation in design, strategy and vision, and intercultural leadership.

Print Media:

- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Harding and Virts Break World Circumnavigation Speed Record. One More Orbit flight crew is successful in its Pole to Pole World Circumnavigation Speed Record marking 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing and 500th anniversary of first ever global circumnavigation
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Hamish Harding and Col. Terry Virts to Attempt World Circumnavigation Speed Record on Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER Aircraft
- FOX NewsNASA astronaut describes 'profound potential' of breakthrough space experiments
- Space News. Former astronaut criticizes lunar gateway plans
- Time. Exclusive: Astronaut Terry Virts on the Power of Space Photography
- Time. NASA Could Have People Living on the Moon in 8 Years. And That's Just the Beginning
- Arstechnica.NASA says it’s building a gateway to the Moon—critics say it’s just a gate
- Space News. A space corps in the U.S. military a ‘no brainer,’ says former astronaut
- Space.com'Star Trek' Cameos Help Astronauts Live Out Sci-Fi Dreams
- Huffington Post. Astronaut Terry Virts On Perspective, Politics And Our Beautiful Planet
- Baltimore Sun. Astronaut Terry Virts talks space photography, science fiction and growing up in Columbia
- VOA. What Is It Like to Become an Astronaut?
- The Verge. NASA astronaut records stunning view as he flies across the night sky
- NASA. 4K Camera Captures Riveting Footage of Unique Fluid Behavior in Space Laboratory
- Huffington Post. Astronaut Terry Virts Captured Breathtaking Photos, Video While In Space.
- ABC news. Astronaut Gets Sweet Message He Can See From Space
- The Verge. NASA astronaut gives Leonard Nimoy the Vulcan salute from space
- The Washington Post. Meet ‘Astro Terry’ Virts, America’s next big space star

"Terry Virts shares his astounding photos in this gallery of science, artistry, and our beautiful planet."

-- Andy Weir, author of THE MARTIAN

“..Far more satisfying is Terry Virts’ View From Above, which supplements magnificent images of Earth with stories drawn from the astronaut’s 213 days in space. He found photography to be a source of great pleasure in orbit, and it shows. Virts took a NASA record 319,275 photos during his six and a half months on the station, many looking down at Earth from the windowed cupola that his STS-130 shuttle crew attached to the station in 2010. He remembers specific places by their colors.

His anecdotes range from suspenseful—a false alarm about a potentially deadly ammonia gas leak has the space station crew briefly contemplating an emergency landing in Siberia—to charming (a room full of Japanese mission controllers singing “Jingle Bells” in Japanese to the crew). Virts’ account sparkles with life, even when the station itself often seems sterile and mechanical. Floating through the modules one day, he hears birds chirping, and finds cosmonaut Misha Kornienko listening to recordings of bird sounds sent up by Russian psychologists. Virts likes it so much he asks for his own Earth sounds, and plays them over all the station’s laptops, so “wherever I floated, it sounded like rain on the rooftop.” Moments like these separate View From Above from other coffee table space books that serve up lots of pretty Earth views, but leave out the humanity.”


“That moment of cosmic collegiality is just one of the stories recounted in Virts‘ dazzling new book…while things may be tense between Washington and the Kremlin, all such differences stop at the atmosphere’s edge”
“Virts’ book..is more than his stories; it’s also his pictures — dozens of vivid, often dizzying images not just of the Earth from space, but of the interior and exterior of the improbable skyliner that is the space station.. For most of us, space travel will always be done by proxy — something we experience only through the journeys of others. That’s been true since the very first time humans left the planet. Thanks to Virts, however, that second-hand experience feels more first-hand than it ever has before.”


“..It explains man’s relationship with space and universe. You will not be able to put this away on a shelf easily..”
The Washington Book Review“This majestic National Geographic photography book offers a spectacular view of Earth from outer space, featuring aerial imagery taken from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut Terry Virts. Few people get the experience of seeing the world from outer space — and no one has taken as many pictures of Earth from above as Terry Virts. Celebrated NASA astronaut, pilot of the space shuttle, crew member on Soyuz, and commander of the International Space Station, Virts has spent more than 200 days in space — and very few of those days went by without his reaching for his camera. Now as never before, Virts shares the astronaut’s view of the world, offering astounding aerial views of our planet and the vastness that surrounds it. The colors, shapes, details — and the stories they tell — are endlessly fascinating. Virts‘s book marries his stunning photographs with glimpses of everyday life in orbit. And amid this amazing show of Earth spectacles, he reflects on how the astronaut’s point of view has shaped his life and spirit. Filled with magnificent photographs that will astonish and inspire, this book — and its intrepid author — becomes our guide to a new way of looking at the world”

“ If, in fact, a picture is worth a thousand words, then astronaut Terry Virts has volumes to say about the view from space. So much so, that the 300 photographs that fill the pages of his new book represent less than one tenth of one percent of all the photos he took in space. And that was just from one of his two flights to the International Space Station. “My goal in ‘View from Above’ was to share the experience of spaceflight in book format as best as I could,” said Virts in an interview with collectSPACE. “It is most definitely not an ‘astronaut memoir,’ but neither is it simply a photography atlas of the Earth or space.” “I really wanted to capture what it is like to fly a space mission — from common events like launch and landing and spacewalking, but also what it was like to see Earth for the first time, or experience emergencies while in space, or learn how to float,”


“He’s as calm and brave and awestruck as any astronaut, and the stories he tells in the essays accompanying the photos mix humor, danger, and wonder.”


“For astronaut Terry Virts, it was the colors of the Earth from space that dazzled him. “I had never seen that shade of blue before,” he writes in the opening chapter of his new book.. Virts does more than describe colors in View From Above, his book about his experiences on the shuttle and the International Space Station.. Like many others who have flown in space, Virts writes that the spaceflight experience had changed him. “


“When it comes to landscape photography, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have the best seats in the house; when you’re 250 miles up and your window is full of Planet Earth, it’s impossible to resist. With almost 200 days and 84 million miles over 3,600 orbits of the planet, first as Flight Engineer then as Commander of the ISS in 2014/2015, NASA astronaut Terry Virts found time to photograph everything from sunrises and ice fields to hurricanes and lighting storms. ..Although framing images of specific places on Earth was always tempting, as well a challenging, Virts preferred to take more artistic shots that place Earth in its actual context – a planet floating alone in space. “A lot of astronauts like to zoom in on their house, or on cities at night, but my favourite were the 24mm wide-angle shots, where you can see the curvature of Earth and the blackness of space,” says Virts.”