NASA Astronaut and author of Spaceman
Photo credit: NASA
About Mike Massimino
Mike Massimino’s road to NASA started in July 1969, when he first watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Growing up in a working-class family on Long Island, Massimino’s singular focus on his dream propelled him to Columbia and MIT. Massimino’s good humor and affable personality kept him afloat even as he was rejected from NASA’s notoriously competitive astronaut training program three times. After his third rejection, he was told his poor eyesight stood between him and his longtime ambition. Massimino, too tenacious and driven to give up, began rigorously working to improve his eyesight. His focus and effort paid off, and he joined NASA in 1996.
Life as a NASA astronaut challenged Massimino’s resolve, humility, and intelligence in unanticipated ways, from the physical strain of practicing spacewalks underwater to handling the profound devastation of losing friends in the tragic Columbia shuttle accident. But in 2002, he achieved his dreams with his first spacewalk, a moment described reverently in his memoir, Spaceman. On both space flights, Massimino and a small group of astronauts were tasked with making crucial repairs to the storied Hubble Telescope.
In talks that celebrate the necessity and beauty of science as much as they do the wonders of the universe, Massimino tells audiences how his own fascination with the cosmos along with teamwork, passion, and persistence turned a childhood dream into a lifelong journey. His smart, funny, and moving stories serve as impassioned argument against giving up the dream of space travel, and showcase showcase the brave, innovative men and women who make it possible.
A de facto spokesman for NASA, Massimino has costarred in the film Hubble IMAX 3D, hosted specials on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the National Geographic Channel, and played himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He cemented his role in both the history of social media and space exploration when he became the first person to tweet from space. A graduate of Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massimino lives with his wife in New York City.
An Astronaut's Guide to Sheltering in Place
When Mike Massimino was selected for the NASA Astronaut Class of 1996, astronauts were preparing to be sent to space for longer periods of time and increasingly challenging missions. It became apparent to NASA that this transition in space exploration was not going to be an easy one for the crew members and their families. They looked to endeavors with similar challenges, such as polar exploration, to help us prepare to engage with isolation and hardship. Now, in a time where physical distancing is the way of the world, Massimino lends audiences his most helpful tips for maintaining their well-being while sheltering in place in his tailored talks. From advice on how to stay mindful with exercise and meaningful hobbies to reaching out to one’s network of friends and family, Massimino is here to help people and organizations get through this difficult time with relatable stories provide takeaways to call upon when inspiration and hope is needed, while also mixing in the wonders of spaceflight and a bit of humor. His messages of persistence, leadership, and teamwork are still paramount in these stories, and drive home his experience that our finest moments can come out of our most challenging times.
Under Pressure in Zero Gravity – How We Saved the Hubble through Innovation and Determination
How do you take out over one hundred small screws from a machine that wasn’t designed to be taken apart? How do you do it with the knowledge that any mistake might compromise the ability to discover life on other planets? And how do you do it in space? Using his own experience on the crews that repaired the Hubble Telescope as an example, Massimino not only teaches audiences how his team’s persistence and creativity saved one of mankind’s most important pieces of technology, but also how innovation and determination are skills that everyone has and anyone can hone.
The Importance of Teamwork
Mike Massimino knows what makes for a strong crew, and his dedication to being the best possible leader for his team led to them setting a record for the longest consecutive spacewalk, a record which still stands today. In this speech he lays out his personal and inimitable philosophy on creating and leading a strong team capable of facing challenges with innovation, creativity, and enthusiasm.
Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
In this entertaining talk, Massimino chronicles his journey from a six-foot-three Long Island kid who was afraid of heights to a two-time veteran of NASA space flights. With humor, humility, and intelligence, Massimino takes us through his childhood obsession with space, his reconnection with his astronaut ambitions thanks to the movie The Right Stuff, and his multiple attempts to gain admission to NASA. His determination leads to a successful career as an astronaut, and a dramatic, moving, and humbling new understanding of the importance of teammates, family, and fellowship.
Praise for Mike Massimino
Praise for Spaceman
An engaging and uplifting memoir that’s sure to give readers a deeper appreciation for the U.S. space program and inspire some future astronauts.— Publishers Weekly
Massimino’s incredible journeys, filled with grit, courage, suspense and thrills, are told with such candor and delight, that for a brief moment I felt I’d finally made it to space too. Read this book and be inspired to reach for the impossible.— Brian Greene, Columbia University, author of The Fabric of the Cosmos
Inspired by moonwalkers, Mike grew up, became an astronaut, and fixed the Hubble Space Telescope, all while remaining some kinda’ humble. You can’t help but follow him from Long Island to the bottom of the spacewalk practice pool, then 350 miles up and back. He’s a spaceman through and through; he tells how hard work can take you out of this world.— Bill Nye, the Science Guy, CEO of the Planetary Society
Mike Massimino writes about space with an astronaut’s eye and an engineer’s precision. You’ll be impressed with his journey and his perspective on where a well-developed space program can take us in the future.— Senator John Glenn
Books by Mike Massimino
Media About Mike Massimino
- 212 572-2013
- Mike Massimino travels from New York, NY
“Every generation of astronauts needs a storyteller — a person with wit, humor, and passion who has lived our collective dreams of space exploration and returned to tell us all about it. Mike Massimino is that person. He’s that astronaut. And this is his story.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson