Terry Virts Went Out of This World with his New Book

How to Astronaut is an amazing insiders guide for anyone who likes Space and Astronomy.

How to Astronaut: An Insiders Guide to Leaving Planet Earth by Terry Virts: Workman Publishing Company, Hardback, 320 pages

Workman Publishing Company

How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth by Terry Virts: Workman Publishing Company, Hardback, 320 pages

Riley McGroarty, Staff Writer

Terry Virts recently published his new book, How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth. On September 15, 2020. The author Terry Virts is a former astronaut who started his career as a pilot in the United States Air Force flying fighter jets. Virts then got chosen by NASA to be a shuttle pilot, and went to the International Space Station on the missions Endeavor, Expedition 42, and Expedition 43 (where he became commander). He spent 200 days in space on Expedition 42 and 43 and many more throughout each expedition that he went on. 

The format of How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth is very good. Instead of a full linear book, there are several different essays that Virts himself wrote about his experiences. In addition to that, you don’t have to read everything in order. It still follows the order of becoming an astronaut, but you can read whatever section you want without needing to read the others first.

The book has a total of 6 sections that outline the full process of being an astronaut. Those sections are Training, Launch, Orbit, Spacewalking, Deep Space, and Re-Entry. Each section includes anywhere from three to twenty chapters with the longest section being Orbit and the shortest section being Deep Space.

In Training, Virts had to learn many things, including how to fly fighter jets, as well as how to keep up physically to be in great shape for space flight and orbit. Along with learning what happens in the case of an emergency, Virts also learned how to deal with any medical emergencies that may happen while in space. My favorite part of this section was the fact he had to learn Russian because he was working with Russian Cosmonauts.

Launch outlines the pre-flight plan, as well as what happens during flight. It begins with what the spacesuit is, how it functions, and what it was like wearing it. There is also a neat diagram of the spacesuit shown in this section. Another thing that Virts goes over of course is what using the bathroom is like while in a spacesuit. That chapter itself was a very interesting one. The last thing that he describes in this section is the feeling of taking off in a rocket, including how loud it was and how fast the rocket was going.

Up next is Orbit and this section goes into detail about what it’s like being on a satellite along with all of the work that has to be done to get all the parts on the ISS (International Space Station.) Virts talks about how he had to adapt to no gravity and the weirdness of that along with his personal look into what he did and what happened during his time on the ISS. There are plenty of photos in this section, Using a lot of photos and a lot of depth throughout the chapter this section in my opinion is the best one. 

Spacewalking is the next section, and in this section, Virts tells us about what had to go on before a spacewalk, this included what it was like to put on the suit, explaining what needs to happen during the walk, and what it feels like to be out in the vacuum of space, wearing only a suit to protect you.

Next up is, Deep Space. In this section, Virts takes what he knows about space and space travel, and applies it to getting to Mars. He talks about what it will take to get to Mars, and what may happen physically to a human who is on a long term mission in space. Virts explains the positives and the negatives that come with this trip along with a cool inside look as to what happens and what occurs throughout the mission itself.

How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth wraps up the book with its final section Re-Entry. This section talks about what it was like to come back to Earth after being in space for 200 whole days, and what it felt like to be back on earth where there was gravity. The section had a nice conclusion to it as it wraps up everything that came with Virts and his journey back down to Earth including what it was like to adapt back to Earth’s gravity and more. Virts even answered some other questions that are asked as if there is alien life out in space or not. It was a cool chapter to read for sure. 

Overall How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth is a very good book. There is so much content in it that I could not even come close to being able to talk about without making it a book myself. If you are a fan of space and astronomy I guarantee you will find something in this book that will strike your interest and even make you stop to think. How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth is an amazing non-fiction book about space that I would strongly recommend to read.