Mike Massimino – Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

9781101903544In Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, Mike Massimino shares his long shot to live his boyhood dream and become an astronaut. The chance of becoming one was the longest of long shots. Mediocre results in school, disqualification because of imperfect eyes, many competitors, threefold rejected job applications and the shifting priorities given by the U.S. government to NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.

This memoir starts off with ‘Mass’ strapped on his back on the 2nd row of the Space Shuttle Columbia being launched into orbit. What makes people want to ride rockets that go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Humans want to explore, pass boundaries. That’s how America was discovered by Christopher Columbus, and Ernest Shackleton is remembered a century after his quest to reach the South Pole.

Mike tells about his youth, his family, the camaraderie of the extended NASA family, his passion for robotics, flying the T-38 jet, and the spacewalks during STS-109 and STS-125. You’re drawn into the amazement of perceiving Earth as a spaceship, the two service missions to Hubble Space Telescope. The author takes your to the training pool, the buoyancy of microgravity, and boasts on his love for heroic movies as The Right Stuff and The Dream is Alive. Losing close friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, sending tweets from space, and the wind-up of the Space Shuttle Program, it’s all part of Mike’s thrill ride through time and space.

About the author
Mike Massimino served as a NASA Astronaut from 1996 until 2014 and flew in space twice: STS-109 on the 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.

I received a free review copy from the publisher Penguin Random House via Blogging for Books through Netgalley in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.