NASA Astronaut Tells His Story at TMLA Assembly
Michael Massimino, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University, a former NASA astronaut, and the senior advisor of space programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum was TMLA’s guest speaker on April 23.
Massimino served as a NASA astronaut from 1996 to 2014. During his career he was on the crew of two spaceflights, the final two shuttle missions to repair the Hubble telescope. In his talk Massimino described the feelings of being strapped to a giant rocket that’s about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour. He also spoke about his awe of viewing the earth from outer space.
One highlight of his talk was Massimino’s own story about pursuing a dream and never giving up. Although as a young boy he had dreamed of becoming an astronaut, it was not until he was in graduate school that he considered it seriously and so made an application when NASA looked for new recruits. Rejected then, he continued to send in applications during the next few years. After 4 applications and 4 rejections, Massimino was finally accepted by NASA for the astronaut program. With pictures and personal stories, he shared his experiences as an astronaut – of working on the Hubble, overcoming obstacles, and the exhilaration of being in space. His words and pictures helped his audience get an increased appreciation of our planet earth in a universe 13.7 billion years old.
As Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “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.”