Mike Massimino, Ph.D.

Former NASA Astronaut, Columbia University Engineering Professor

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, and Space Museum. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Columbia and Master of Science degree in both Mechanical Engineering and Technology and Policy, as well as his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After working as an engineer at IBM, NASA Headquarters and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, along with academic appointments at both Rice University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Massimino 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, Massimino has many accomplishments including a team record for the number of hours spacewalking in a single space shuttle mission and the first person to tweet from Space with over 1.3 million twitter followers currently. He has also received a number of awards including two NASA “Space Flight Medals”, the NASA “Distinguished Service Medal”, and the American Astronautical Society’s 2009 “Flight Achievement Award”. He is also the holder of two patents and author of several engineering research papers. 

Back at his alma mater, Columbia, Massimino is teaching an undergraduate 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.

When not in academia or at NASA, Massimino has made several television appearances including a recurring role as himself on the CBS hit comedy, The Big Bang Theory. In addition, he frequently appears in specials on Discovery, History, PBS and National Geographic Channels, along with national and cable news. He has also been a guest on many of the late night talk shows including The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Massimino is author of Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe (October 2016), where he tells the inspirational, unlikely, and often humorous story of his 18 years at NASA, including his four spacewalks to service the Hubble Space Telescope and his public relations work in telling the story of space. Massimino’s account gives readers a first-hand look at the incredible legacy of the Hubble and the modern history of space travel in the final years of the shuttle era, including the tragedy of the 2003 Columbia disaster. It also offers an insider’s take on the storied past and exciting future of manned space flight.