December 6, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - Col Terry Virts Jr., 41, a former F-16 pilot has been named by NASA as the pilot of space shuttle Endeavour on flight STS-130 next December to the International Space Station.
The Colonel, a Baltimore native will make his first space flight after joining the astronaut corps in 2000.
-130 mission is to deliver another module to the Space Station as well as seven-window cupola designed as a control room for robotic operations on the exterior of the space station.
When flying the F-16 Virts, served in Korea and Germany. In the late 1990s, he flew 45 combat missions to suppress Iraqi air defence fire. In 1997, he was accepted to the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. During his time he has logged more than 3,700 flight hours in 40 different aircraft.
After joining the astronaut corps, he has helped to test shuttle electronics systems and handled communications between Houston and eight space station expeditions and three shuttle flights.