Mike Massimino, a former NASA astronaut and the first person to tweet from space, is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University and the Senior Advisor for Space Programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. He received his Bachelor of Science from Columbia and Masters of Science in both Mechanical Engineering and in Technology and Policy, as well as his 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 both Rice University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Mike was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1996. A veteran of two space flights, the fourth and fifth Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions in 2002 and 2009, Mike has many accomplishments including a team record for the number of hours spacewalking in a single space shuttle mission. He has also received a number of awards during his NASA career including two NASA Space Flight Medals, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, American Astronautical Society’s 2009 Flight Achievement Award, and Star of the Italian Solidarity (Italian Knighthood). He is also the holder of two patents and author of many engineering research papers.
Back at his alma mater, Columbia, Mike is teaching an undergraduate engineering course, Introduction to Human Space Flight, which harnesses his years of academic and professional experience. He is also working with The Art of Engineering, a course in which all first-year engineers attend design lectures and work on engineering projects with socially responsible themes.
Mike has made numerous television appearances including a six-time recurring role as himself on the CBS hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory.” He hosted Science Channel’s “The Planets” and its special “The Great American Eclipse,” and will be featured in National Geographic Television’s upcoming series “One Strange Rock.” He is a frequent guest on television news and talk show programs including NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and FoxNews. He has also appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Star Talk” 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 Bestseller. He has also received a 2017 Christopher Award, the 2017 Columbia University Community Impact Outstanding Community Service Award, and the 2017 Communications Award of the National Space Club. The street that Mike grew up on in Franklin Square, NY has been renamed “Mike Massimino Street.”
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.
Everyone was thrilled with the meeting, especially your presentation. I have never received so much positive feedback after one of our All Staff meetings.
Your inspiration, passion and down to earth style was nothing short of spectacular.
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.