Biography

Mike Massimino, a former NASA astronaut, is a professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University and the senior advisor for space programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. He received a BS from Columbia University, and MS degrees in mechanical engineering and in technology and policy, as well as a PhD in mechanical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After working as an engineer at IBM, NASA, and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, along with academic appointments at Rice University and at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Mike was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1996, and is the veteran of two space flights, the fourth and fifth Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions in 2002 and 2009. Mike has a team record for the number of hours spacewalking in a single space shuttle mission, and he was also the first person to tweet from space. During his NASA career he received two NASA Space Flight Medals, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the American Astronautical Society’s Flight Achievement Award, and the Star of Italian Solidarity.

Mike has made numerous television appearances, including a six-time recurring role as himself on the CBS hit comedy The Big Bang Theory. He has hosted Science Channel’s The Planets and its special Great American Eclipse. He is featured in National Geographic Channel’s series One Strange Rock and is the host for Science Channel’s series The Planets and Beyond. He is a frequent guest on television news and talk show programs, including NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CNN. He has also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and on StarTalk radio and television shows.

Mike’s book, Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, has received rave reviews and is a New York Times best-seller. Mike’s new book, Spaceman: The True Story of a Young Boy’s Journey to Becoming an Astronaut, a young adult version of his previously published autobiography, is scheduled for publication on April 7th, 2020. He is a recipient of the 2017 Christopher Award, the 2017 Columbia University Community Impact Outstanding Community Service Award, the 2017 National Space Club Communications Award, and in 2018 was inducted into the Long Island Air and Space Hall of Fame. The street that Mike grew up on in Franklin Square, Long Ismoland has been renamed “Mike Massimino Street.”

Mike shares with audiences personal stories of inspiration, innovation, teamwork and leadership as drawn from his experiences in one of the greatest and most dangerous jobs someone can have—NASA astronaut. Through humor and storytelling, he highlights the pursuit and achievement of a childhood dream, the dedication and teamwork necessary to train for one of NASA’s most difficult space missions, the determination needed to face tragedies like the Columbia space shuttle accident, and the innovation and leadership necessary to overcome seemingly insurmountable trials when in space and beyond. He leaves his audiences understanding the value of having passion for what you do, of perseverance in achieving a goal, of building a team to meet great challenges, and of creativity and innovation in problem solving. He also inspires audiences with the awe and beauty of space and shares his thoughts on the future—both personal and in regard to the ever-changing and competitive space program.

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Videos


OMG – he was awesome! Everyone loved him!! He stayed to sign books and I think all 300 people waited in line to have him do so. We extended lunch by 30 minutes so that everyone could have a chance to meet him, get their photos with him, and get their books signed. Mike is so genuine and so personable. He mingled with everyone before and after his talk. He is truly fabulous. We’ll certainly recommend him to other groups within UnitedHealth Group. We couldn’t have had a better motivator for our team.
– United Healthcare
We can’t thank you enough for your inspiring kick off presentation. You set just the right tone for our meeting and inspired our guests to create innovative approaches to solving some of our thorniest business issues. The meeting was a rousing success and you played a big part teeing it up.
– Zurich North America
We have gotten an incredible amount of positive feedback about your talk, and to say you ‘delivered’ would be a complete understatement. Thank you for helping to inspire my team to be at their best with this amazing advancement for myeloma patients...for helping Janssen Oncology to DREAM BIG and GO FAR.
– Janssen Oncology
I had the pleasure of hiring Mike to be our closing guest speaker at our annual user summit in Houston. In my role over the years, I have hired countless speakers to close out large user events and I will say that Mike is one of the best that I have ever hired. Not only is he a down to earth person and easy to talk with, but the message he delivers relates to everyone. Normally when you hire an external speaker to close out an event, there is usually a good size drop-off of people who are trying to catch a flight out of town. Not in our case. I looked around the room when Mike started and it was close to being as crowded as day 1 of the event (roughly 1300 people). Also, afterwards, Mike signed his books for attendees and we estimate that 500+ were in line to get a book signed. I would HIGHLY recommend Mike to anyone who needs a closing guest speaker.
– Acumatica
I wanted to thank you for your contribution to our sales meeting… your talk was the highlight of the meeting for all in attendance. It is always great for me to see an individual like yourself with an incredible resume and unique life experiences who is still incredibly humble and down to earth (pardon the pun). You fit in perfectly with our company values. Please consider yourself an honorary member of the Cook family.” “The feedback we got from the work you did at our meeting rated higher than anything we did, and it wasn’t even close. The message you delivered – the tone of never giving up, team culture, perseverance and overcoming challenges - still resonates this week in conversations I have had with people. “I used my 30 seconds, I got over it and we have to move on.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that.
– Cook Vascular Programs
Just wanted to take a minute and say thank you for your presentation yesterday. I have had numerous people stop me and tell me how much they loved your story – how your message really hit home with our transformation.
– Cook Medical
Our leaders were inspired by your story and I believe walked away with a renewed sense of purpose and ready to focus on our new aspiration and goal. Your determination has encouraged us to think differently and be more courageous in our pursuits to impact society.
– Pfizer
Mike Massimino was a great hit at our annual employee kickoff. Mike did an amazing job getting a full understanding of our company and incorporating it in his speech. He captured the entire audience from beginning to end, and he was just a perfect fit for the event.” “You invested time and did your homework to understand the audience, understand our company, what we're trying to achieve, and you effectively honed in on what you could to assist in that journey. As a result, you connected immediately and effectively with our employees; your story of focus, persistence and perseverance, success and failure, and especially teamwork, combined with astonishing photos and videos, created a truly unique and inspiring experience and motivated our team. Your energy, passion, humor, and connection with the audience was beyond impressive. Your message and stories resonated with our employees, many of whom went out of their way to share with us how inspiring they thought you are, and for context, this tremendous feedback was from an audience used to hearing from exceptional people with exceptional achievements; yet you easily topped our past keynotes.” Here are but a few of the feedback notes from our team: “Outstanding message, story and presentation." "Incredible presenter, amazing engagement and connection with the audience.” "Best of class presenter, especially challenging when compared to the other recent and strong keynotes we've had the opportunity to listen and learn from." "The keynote speaker was very inspiring - great choice".
– Imprivata
Everyone was thrilled with the meeting, especially your presentation. I have never received so much positive feedback after one of our All Staff meetings.
– VSP Global
On behalf of the entire marketing leadership team THANK YOU once again for joining us for the seminar and sharing your amazing story! For our team, your talk was incredibly powerful and inspiring! We have heard so many positive comments. It gave a lot of meaning to the seminar and I know people will continue using your stories and quotes for a long time! I personally am also super inspired and looking forward to reading your book.
– The LEGO Group
Our company is buzzing about how amazing it was to hear your stories, challenges and successes!
– Reliant NRG
Your inspiration, passion and down to earth style was nothing short of spectacular.
– Commonwealth/McCann
Mike was great. He did a fantastic job of engaging the audience with his stories and down-to- earth style (pardon the pun). He hit the mark on our key messages but didn’t beat people over the head with them. He integrated them seamlessly into his stories. I also appreciated that he hung around and chatted with a number of our colleagues after his remarks – even if it did nearly cause him to miss his flight. All told, he was a hit.
– CVS Caremark
Your presentation was fantastic and highly rated by our audience. On behalf of USA Rice, and the more than 750 conference attendees, please accept our warmest appreciation for your contribution to the quality and success of the meeting.
– USA Rice
Mike was a hit and made everyone's day. His presentation was really well done and set a great, positive and fun tone for our event. He was an absolute pleasure to work with. We really appreciate all the time he took to speak and take pictures with our customers." “Everyone loved him and his keynote was stellar. We absolutely loved having him at Zoomtopia.
– Zoom
The team is still buzzing about your inspirational and engaging talk. You were a huge hit! We look forward to including you in other events at Fidelity.
– Fidelity Investments
We just wanted to say a big thank you for helping inspire our teams yesterday. And thank you for taking the extra time to sign books and pose for pics. All of those docs and frontline team members (and executives!) are buzzing with smiles today and repeating your stories. The messages that you deliver are very applicable to the work we do in acute healthcare.
– Orlando Health
He was really great to work with and just some amazing stories and we’re bummed our clients couldn’t meet him in person, but we think this is the next best thing. Sort of like him talking to us from space. Many of his stories are very topical to what we are all going through right now including the quarantine astronauts go through before going into space and the isolation even in space being disconnected from the world. The story of teamwork with his fellow astronaut classmates was especially powerful for me— this idea that we win or lose together. A great reminder that we’re all in this together right now. And I enjoyed his story about needing to both accept change and anticipate change in the same moment. You have 30 seconds of venting, ranting, or feeling sorry for yourself—and then you move forward. Because the only constant is change. Really powerful! Please thank him for us.
– Personify Software

Booksby Mike Massimino

Moonshot: A NASA Astronaut's Guide to Achieving the Impossible

Spaceman 1

Spaceman 2

Spaceman 3

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