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Astro Photophile Col. Terry Virts spent more time in space than everyone else featured in this issue combined, and he has pictures to prove it BY MIKE REDDY

Col. Terry Virts in his offical NASA portrait.

Cameras in space NASA gives all astronauts training in photography—a handy skill considering the ISS is loaded with some of the

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best camera equipment available. But not all astronauts share Virts’ passion for taking pictures. In fact, unless they’re required to take pictures of equipment or other things as part of their day-to-day duties, it’s largely left to the astronauts’ discretion whether they take advantage of the cameras onboard. But Virts took full advantage. He shot more than 300,000 photos from space—more than any astronaut before him. He brought

PHOTOGRAPH: NASA/BILL STAFFORD

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ver the course of his life, U.S. Air Force Col. Terry Virts has worn many helmets. Having served as a test pilot, fighter pilot, space shuttle pilot, NASA astronaut and as commander of the International Space Station, Virts may be the reallife embodiment of the astronaut so many children hoped they would grow up to become. In total, Virts spent a little more than seven months in space, flying a two-week mission and a 200-day mission. But before he took to the skies, he took pictures. “When I was a kid, my parents bought me a Konica SLR camera,” Virts told Luckbox. “It was a 35-millimeter. You had to drop the roll of film in and wind it manually.” His parents weren’t really into photography themselves, so Virts had to teach himself about exposure, aperture size, film, ISO, focus and everything else that goes into quality picture-taking. The photography bug bit him, and it latched on tightly. “They just got me this camera, and I think ever since then I’ve had a camera around my neck,” he said.

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April 2021