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Mike Massimino – Keynote Speaker

Former NASA Astronaut, Senior Space Program Advisor and Professor at Columbia University

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Specialist Subjects

  • Following dreams, setting goals, and never giving up
  • Teamwork and leadership
  • Innovation and problem solving
  • Dealing with and accepting change
  • An Astronaut’s View on Overcoming the Challenges of Separation and Sheltering in Place
  • Dealing with and accepting change


  • English

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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, Mike 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. Mike 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.

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, Mike 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. 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 Massimino 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. He 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. Massimino 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.

Massimino’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.

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