Behind the Wings ®
The Podcast – S4, Episode 39

In 1996, astronaut Tom Henricks became the first Space Shuttle pilot/commander to log 1,000 hours in space.

Listen Anywhere! Apple Podcasts | Spotify | View All Listings

Tom tells us about his time as an F-4 pilot and F-16 test pilot, astronaut training, flying four Space Shuttle missions, including two as a commander, and the challenges of flying at Mach 25. This one is going to be cool!

Free Form Image
Key Takeaways:
  • Tom’s love of aviation started when he bought an airplane ride near his family’s farm.
  • Tom graduated number one in his weapons and test pilot school.
  • After applying four times, Tom was selected to be a NASA astronaut in 1985.
  • Tom flew to space four times on missions STS-44, 55, 70, and 78. They ran experiments, deployed satellites, and did some early testing that later would help build the International Space Station.
  • The Space Shuttle reenters the atmosphere at Mach 25, making it very complicated to land successfully. Tom landed the Shuttle on his last two missions.
  • At the time, STS-78 was the longest space mission to date at 405 hours. Later that same year, STS-80 broke its record by 19 hours.
  • Tom is excited about the future of Artemis and hopes someday he may even step on the Moon.
Behind the Wings Season 4

Want more Behind the Wings?

Behind the Wings Season 4

Peek into the cockpits of rare warbirds and spacecraft, hear from aerospace experts and more in our episodic documentary series!

Learn more