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Michael Massimino        

Former NASA Astronaut, Columbia University Engineering Professor & Media Personality

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 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 both Rice University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Professor Massimino was selected as an astronaut candidate 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 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 (Italian knighthood).

At Columbia, Professor Massimino is teaching an undergraduate engineering course, Introduction to Human Space Flight, which harnesses his years of academic and professional experience. He is also collaborating on The Art of Engineering, a course in which all first-year engineers 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 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, CNN, and Fox News. He has also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s 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. He is a recipient of the 2017 Christopher Award, the Columbia University Community Impact Outstanding Community Service Award, and the Communications Award of the National Space Club. The street that Mike grew up on in Franklin Square, Long Island has been renamed “Mike Massimino Street.”

Speech Topics


Views from Space: Leadership, Teamwork, Determination

Mike Massimino 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 trails 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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