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Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe Paperback – September 12, 2017
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“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
“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
“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
“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
"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
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Mike Massimino served as a NASA Astronaut from 1996 until 2014 and flew in space twice: STS-109 on space shuttle Columbia in March 2002 and STS-125 on space shuttle Atlantis in May 2009 – the final two Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. Mike became the first human to tweet from space, was the last human to work inside of Hubble, and set a team record with his crewmates for the most cumulative spacewalking time in a single space shuttle mission.
Mike has a recurring role as himself on The Big Bang Theory; appears regularly on late night talk shows, news programs, and documentaries; and is a much sought after inspirational speaker. He received his BS from the Columbia University School of Engineering, and his two MS’s and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He currently lives in New York City where he is an engineering professor at Columbia and an advisor at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.
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As a nearly-life long space freak, I soak in everything related to human space flight. I have wanted to be an astronaut since I was six years old. Like many out there who are intensely interested in the space program, I've met many astronauts (one of my claims to fame is that I have shaken hands with every human who has so far walked on the Moon!), and even come to know a few.
Mike Massimino is definitely one I want to get to know.
Besides being a terrific autobiography, this is one of those books that makes you really feel like "you're there." When Mike writes of being selected to be an astronaut, I actually teared up -- he wrote in a way that made me feel like I was the person being selected by NASA. Massimino's description of his first extravehicular activity (EVA -- "spacewalk") is one of the best "what-did-it-feel-like-and-what-were-you-thinking" descriptions ever. I felt like I was actually out there with him, being a "Hubble Jedi" right beside him.
The book is funny, informative, entertaining, moving, and educational. Massimino's writing style almost perfectly emulates the way he speaks. He is a normal kid from Brooklyn who, by skills, capabilities, intelligence, persistence and sheer luck, went on to do extraordinary things. After reading this book, I had an intense desire to meet Massimino and sit down over dinner and drinks and talk until he kicks me out.
At 344 pages, "Spaceman" is an average-sized book. It is not an average life story. I read it over the Christmas break in seven hours and did not want it to end. If you have even one-tenth the interest I have in the space program, buy Massimino's "Spaceman."
This book is that good.
Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the UniverseHaving worked along side Mass for both of his missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope I was delighted at how easily he transports the reader to the excitement and wonder of realizing a dream. Mass stays true to himself throughout - I can hear his voice come through on every page. And I was honored with his shout out. Thanks, Buddy.
If you are a regular guy or gal who dreams of reaching for the stars you will love this honest and heartfelt first hand account of being "there" and discovering anew that Earth is a planet.
Massimino is an interesting guy and humble too. His peculiar mix of earnestness, self-deprecation and gratitude were a winning combo that came across throughout the book. Massimino’s writing made this book a pleasure to read because he was so inspiring, but I also found it fantastically interesting. I learned a lot about space and space travel from this book that I did not know. I love it when a book can expose me to whole new worlds and give me a new perspective.
I gleaned so many wonderful lessons from this book that I wrote a piece on it over on LinkedIn. I was particularly glad that my son read this book and got those lessons too. Namely, that there are multiples paths to your goal, get outside your comfort zone, learn from your failures, rely on your team and most importantly that attitude is everything. Mike Massimino restores my faith in the ideas of hard work, optimism and gratitude. We could all learn a lot from his can-do attitude.
1. "Mass", as badly as he wanted to be an astronaut all his life, did not subscribe to the foolish notion of "you can be anything you want if you put your mind to it". Instead he tried as hard as he could, had setbacks, and knew if he didn't make it at least he gave it his all. He did succeed in the end but success was never assured just because he wanted it so badly.
2. Where failure is not an option, I admire the extreme preparation for space missions, manned and unmanned. We can apply some of these principles to mission critical earthbound systems.
3. Astronauts will not include jerks in their ranks, no matter how talented. Jerks lead to "poor expedition behavior" which can lead to disaster. Another lesson for earthbound teams here too.