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Mike Massimino

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Astronaut, Columbia Professor, Media Personality, Author and Inspiration for the Movie, Gravity

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3 Video(s) By This Presenter

Sizzle Reel
A Citizen of Earth
An Astronauts View of Space

6 Programs By This Presenter

Mike’s dream of becoming an astronaut began when he was six years old watching television as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. The path to achieving this dream was wrought with unexpected challenges, failures, disappointments, and self-doubt. Mike was rejected three times by NASA including a medical disqualification which Mike overcame by teaching his eyes to “see better.”

His persistence paid off with two missions on the Space Shuttle and four spacewalks on the Hubble Space Telescope. Mike stresses that as long as you keep trying no matter what the obstacles, achieving your goal is possible.

Upon arriving at NASA, Mike discovered he was part of team that put the success of the team and the mission above individual accomplishments. Teamwork and leadership was developed through the
extraordinary experiences that Mike and his fellow astronauts shared during their training and spaceflights. Through these experiences strong friendships and working relationships were forged that enable Mike and his colleague’s to complete astronaut training, overcome tragedy, and repair the greatest scientific instrument in space – the Hubble Space Telescope. Mike discusses how teamwork and leadership led to success during his spaceflights and in life.

Mike’s second spaceflight was the final Space Shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. On that mission Mike was tasked with the most complicated spacewalk ever attempted: the in-space repair of a delicate scientific instrument inside of the telescope. A major miscue during that spacewalk nearly led to failure. But the ground control team and the astronaut’s in space worked together to come up with an innovative solution that saved the day and the mission. Mike explains how although not every problem has an obvious solution, preparation and innovation can help us overcome unforeseen challenges.

Mike’s second space flight was one of the last of the Space Shuttle Program. It was time for NASA to retire the space shuttle and move on to the next phase in space exploration. That next phase included, flying exclusively on the Russian Soyuz for the foreseeable future and working with commercial companies in the coming age of private space travel. Many at NASA did not want to accept these changes. But the last few years have shown that those who accepted these changes have thrived, while those who resisted are no longer contributing. Technological progress and entrepreneurship are inevitable in every industry, and the NASA team learned to embrace the changes in order to move on to that next phase. We now have partnerships and burgeoning private space industry.

Many of Mike’s students are still excited about working for NASA, but many are also excited about the new opportunities with private space companies and our future in space is bright because of these changes.

No matter how much we enjoy our jobs we sometimes get caught up in the day to day activities and can forget the big picture. This can even happen to astronauts.

Mike stresses the importance of trying to remember the reason why we work as hard as we do. In addition to supporting our families and enjoying the challenges of our jobs, we should always remember how we are making the world a better place through our work.

For Mike as an astronaut it was servicing and repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. Arguably the greatest scientific instrument ever built, Hubble made some of the greatest scientific discoveries in history while showing us the beauty of our universe. Contributing to great projects makes all the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.

After a realizing a dream, there comes a time when one needs to find that next dream in life. For Mike, his astronaut career was a little boy dream come true. After 18 years it was time to find a new challenge in life and a new dream. Mike discusses the difficulty of giving up the most exciting and interesting job he could ever have for the next phase in life. New challenges are needed for happiness, and there is no reason why one dream job cannot be replaced by another. In Mike’s case that has meant a new career as a university professor, museum advisor, author, television personality, and speaker sharing his lessons and experiences from his life as an astronaut.

After a realizing a dream, there comes a time when one needs to find that next dream in life. For Mike, his astronaut career was a little boy dream come true. After 18 years it was time to find a new challenge in life and a new dream. Mike discusses the difficulty of giving up the most exciting and interesting job he could ever have for the next phase in life. New challenges are needed for happiness, and there is no reason why one dream job cannot be replaced by another. In Mike’s case that has meant a new career as a university professor, museum advisor, author, television personality, and speaker sharing his lessons and experiences from his life as an astronaut.

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Reviews

“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 min. 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

Books

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