Mike Massimino, Ph.D.
- Inspiring Lives
- Overcoming Obstacles and Challenges
- Crisis Management
Audience & Industry
- Colleges and Universities
- Lecture Series
- Sales Professionals
The first person to tweet from space and a four-time spacewalker on two missions to the Hubble Space Telescope, including the final Hubble servicing mission, which has been called the most dangerous and complex mission in space shuttle history, Mike Massimino uses humor and his unique storytelling ability to inspire audiences to identify the passion in their work, to use teamwork and innovation to solve problems, to provide leadership in the face of adversity, and to never give up when pursuing a goal.
Mike Massimino is a former NASA Astronaut, a New York Times bestselling author, a Columbia University engineering professor, and an advisor at The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. A veteran of two space shuttle missions and four spacewalks, Massimino was the first person to tweet from space, holds the team record for the most spacewalking time on a single space shuttle mission, and successfully completed the most complicated spacewalk ever attempted to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Massimino persisted through three rejections over 7 years on his way to becoming an astronaut, including overcoming a medical disqualification by training his eyes and brain to see better. He has had a recurring role as himself on the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” is the host for the Science Channel Series “The Planets and Beyond,” was featured in National Geographic Television’s “One Strange Rock,” is a frequent expert guest on news programs and late night television (including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC, and The Late Show with David Letterman), and has been called the real-life astronaut who inspired George Clooney’s role in the movie “Gravity.” He lives in New York City.
Mike Massimino - Speaking Reel 2020
Mike Massimino talks on Never Being Alone
Mike Massimino on Making Mistakes
Mike Massimino shares The Difference Between Impossible and Unlikely
Mike Massimino - LEGO Lunar Lander Unboxing in Zero Gravity
Mike Massimino says Never Let Failure Stop You
Mike Massimino on Teamwork and Determination
Mike Massimino on Admitting Your Mistakes
Mike Massimino asks Is It Worth the Risk?
Mike Massimino says You Can Control Your Effort, Not the Outcome
Mike Massimino Considers Himself a Citizen of Earth
Mike Massimino, Ph.D.'s Speech Topics
An Astronaut’s View on Planet Earth
The orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope is 350 miles above the Earth, 100 miles higher than the International Space Station. From that altitude, astronauts are able to see the curvature of our planet, and spacewalking astronauts are able to take in the magnificent views through their helmet visors with a 360- degree view of our planet and the surrounding universe. Massimino describes his observations and feelings while viewing our planet, including its fragility and the importance of taking care of it.
Following Dreams, Setting Goals, and Never Giving Up
Massimino’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. He was rejected three times by NASA including a medical disqualification which he 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. Massimino stresses that as long as you keep trying no matter what the obstacles, achieving your goal is possible.
Teamwork and Leadership
Upon arriving at NASA, Mike Massimino discovered he was part of team that put the success of the team and the mission above individual accomplishments. The culture at NASA fostered strong relationships between astronauts and with NASA leadership. Teamwork and leadership was developed through the extraordinary experiences that Massimino and his fellow astronauts shared during their training and spaceflights. Through these experiences strong friendships and working relationships were forged that enabled Massimino and his colleagues to complete astronaut training, overcome tragedy, and repair the greatest scientific instrument in space – the Hubble Space Telescope. Massimino discusses how teamwork and leadership led to success during his spaceflights and in life.
Innovation and Problem Solving
Massimino’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 astronauts in space worked together to come up with an innovative solution that saved the day and the mission. Massimino explains how although not every problem has an obvious solution, preparation and innovation can help us with overcoming unforeseen challenges and adapting to change.
Being Resilient and Adaptable
Massimino’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 a burgeoning private space industry. Our future in space is bright because of these changes.
Works by Mike Massimino, Ph.D.
Mike Massimino, Ph.D.
Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe (opens in a new tab)
What Other Organizations Say About Mike Massimino, Ph.D.
Mike 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.