Terry Virts

in conversation with Chuck Wendig

Recorded Saturday, September 26th, 2020

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Terry Virts in conversation with Chuck Wendig

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Terry VirtsHow to Astronaut is an insider’s guide to an experience few will ever know firsthand – the highs, lows, humor, and wonder of experiences including survival training, space shuttle emergencies, bad bosses, putting on a spacesuit, time travel, and more.

Colonel Terry Virts is a pilot, astronaut, author and photographer. Terry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the United States Air Force Academy in 1989, and a master of aeronautical science degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He began his career as an Air Force officer and pilot he was stationed in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, South Korea, Germany, California, and Texas. He has logged over 5,300 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft including combat time in the F-16 “Viper.” He has also served in multiple flying commands, Space Command, and Cyber Command.

In 2010 he made his first spaceflight as pilot of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-130 ; delivering the now-famous Cupola, which provides astronauts with a 360° view of our planet and the universe. Virts attended Harvard Business School in the fall of 2011 and completed the General Management Programme, having been selected as NASA’s only candidate for that programme.

Selected by NASA in 2000, he was the pilot of STS-130 mission aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour. In March 2015, Terry assumed command of the International Space Station, and spent over 200 days on it. He is one of the stars (and photographers) of the IMAX film, A Beautiful Planet, released in April 2016. He is also the author of View from Above. He is also one of only 4 astronauts ever to have piloted a space shuttle, flown on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, performed space walks and commanded the ISS.

Chuck Wendig is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, and the Heartland YA series, alongside other works across comics, games, film, and more. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds.com, and his books about writing. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

“If I turned off the lights inside, suddenly countless stars appeared, like fireflies in the summertime coming out as darkness falls”

—Terry Virts, View From above.

Get ready to join Terry in conversation, Saturday, September 26th.

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Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any that match your interests.

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  • 3

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    Is it hard to return to earth and go about normal life once you have been one of the few humans to leave it behind?

  • 3

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    Did you see any UFOs while you were at the Space Station?

  • 2

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    Does anything on earth awe you anymore?

  • 2

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    Did you always know you wanted to be an astronaut?

  • 2

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    What (earthly) profession do you think is most like being an astronaut? In other words, what profession do you look at and think, “Ahh, the person who’s attracted to that job has a brain much like mine”?

  • 1

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    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

  • 1

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    You were a photographer before you became an astronaut. How did you get started, and why did it interest you?

  • 1

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    You were part of filming the IMAX movie ‘A Beautiful Planet.’ How did that come about? What was that process like?

  • 1

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    Do you run into any special equipment challenges in space? What is most different about filming in space?

  • 1

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    What’s your artistic approach to shooting in space?

  • 1

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    What inspired you to write “how to astronaut”?

  • 1

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    Who are your inspirations (astronauts, photographers or authors)?

  • 1

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    Did you go into space thinking you would create “View from Above” or did you decide after looking at all your photos?

  • 1

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    How would you educate policy makers to think beyond “down to earth” matters?

  • 1

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    What non-human animal is most like an astronaut? Cats, because they like to be up high? Dogs, because they’re curious? Otters, cause they love to float?

  • 1

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    What is the last thought that crosses your mind when the clock hits T-0:01 during launch?

  • 1

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    What is your favorite moment in space travel history that you’ve been alive to witness, that didn’t involve you personally?

  • 1

    votes

    Do you think there will ever be approval for the nuclear engine option mentioned in book for Mars and deep space exploration? What exactly is the hesitancy?

  • 1

    votes

    Going deep…based on views mentioned in the book of a cosmic creator, why do you think it would place us so far from any other life in the universe? Are we meant to earn the right to find those answers so many ponder, when the time is right in our advancement?

  • 0

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    Saw mention of the incredible Three Body Problem novel in your book, just starting book 3 myself. What is your favorite science fiction book/author read so far in life? Assuming Death of a Salesman wasn’t the last fiction you’ve read since high school;)

  • 0

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    What is your writing process? Is it a “sit down and write every day” thing, or a “wait for inspiration” thing, or somewhere between the two?

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