Mike Massimino dreamed of being an astronaut when he watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon at the age of seven. Then he grew up to be one, despite applying to the wrong department at MIT, flunking his PhD qualifying exams, and getting rejected twice by NASA. With movies like The Right Stuff and Apollo 13 as inspiration, Mike brings the reader with him as he recalls being strapped to a rocket shooting into space, almost crying in his spacesuit during his first spacewalk, and becoming an expert and team-leader on the Hubble telescope.
With the help of his friends, his team, and his never-give-up attitude, Mike Massimino is one of those people who exudes authenticity and childlike wonder. He describes being shot into space as a giant scifi monster reaching down from the sky and grabbing your heart. He sneaks a look at the Earth during his spacewalk, and almost cries, which would have caused an abort of his mission due to dangerous water droplets in his suit. He experiences thrilling highs and impostor-syndrome lows. Mike is a part of something great and knows it, and he wants to share it with you.
I love that Mike’s story is a personal journey that shows how a strong work ethic, stubbornness despite multiple failures, and a willingness to always make new friends is the secret to his success. But Mike’s story is also the story of NASA and the shuttle program, from the training programs, to the loss of the STS-107 crew in the 2003 Columbia disaster, to the positive impact of social media. Thanks to Massimino for switching out that battery on the Hubble. Sometimes a little leverage goes a long way!
Highly recommended for everyone! Relate-able and inspirational!
We have this idea in America of the self-made man. We love to celebrate individual achievement. We have these icons like Steve Jobs and Henry Ford and Benjamin Franklin, and we talk about how amazing it is that they did these great things and built themselves up out of nothing. I think the self-made man is a myth. I’ve never believed in it. I can honestly say that I’ve never achieved anything on my own. … I owe everything I’ve ever accomplished to the people around me—people who pushed me to be the best version of myself.