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Terry Virts Astronaut Father

With special guest:

  • Terry Virts

In today’s show we reach for the heavens.

Our guest is Terry Virts an American Air Force Colonel and test pilot who was selected by NASA to be an Astronaut in 2000 and subsequently made his first flight into space as the pilot of space shuttle Endeavour STS 130. In 2014 Terry launched into space again from Baikonur, Kazakhstan to ride to the International Space Shuttle where he was to be the Commander and he stayed on the station for 200 days.

Terry has lots of stories to fascinate those of us who may have never been in charge of going higher than the attic. We are also interested in the family man and the effect on his family of these long absences when he is doing dangerous exciting work with the world media watching. As Terry tells us, children have a way of bringing you back to earth if you get too caught up in your own world and his stories about reunions with his family are heart warming. The love of Terry’s daughter is preserved forever after she arranged with a car manufacturer to draw a 5 square kilometre message saying that she loved her dad.

Meanwhile Terry saw the sign from space and took photos, some of the over 300,000 that he took from the space station. We were excited to learn that Terry has produced a book with a selection of these photos called View from Above. Terry is also one of the stars of the IMAX film entitled A Beautiful Planet.

Terry is fluent in French and Russian as some of his many accomplishments. When blasting off for the space station he set himself a number of goals. One was that despite living for months in close quarters with the other five Astronauts on the station they would remain friends throughout the voyage and when they returned to earth. Mission accomplished! This was despite the tensions between Russia and the US at the time that they witnessed from afar. There are also lessons to be learned about this fragile planet that Terry could see hanging in the vast emptiness of space. If only those in charge of looking after the environment and those pursuing national interests at the expense of peace could share this perspective.

From our point of view there are lessons to be learned as fathers when guiding their children on whatever mission they might choose in life. This is a fascinating show and an opportunity to get personal with a type of modern adventurer that very few of us have the chance to encounter.

Terry Virts

Terry Virts knew he wanted to be an astronaut as a kindergartener reading his first book about the Apollo missions while growing up in Columbia, Maryland. Terry was selected for Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California and after graduating he has logged over 5,300 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft including the F-16 “Viper” and the Space Shuttle. Terry made his first spaceflight as pilot of the Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-130- the mission to deliver the now famous Cupola, which provides astronauts with a 360° view of the International Space Station (ISS) and our planet. On November 23, 2014, Terry launched on-board Soyuz TMA-15M from Baikonur, Kazakhstan to the ISS. He is one of only 4 astronauts ever to have piloted a space shuttle, fly on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, performed space walks and Command the ISS.

Terry is very active on social media with over half a million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Song selections by our guest: Reality by Newsboys & Rescue by Newsboys

Note: This program is an encore presentation of the one aired on 24 Aug 2017.

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