Michael Massimino

Former NASA Astronaut, Columbia University Engineering Professor

Mike Massimino is a top innovation keynote speaker, 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.

  • Michael Massimino`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Michael Massimino`s U.S. Speaking Fee

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  • Languages Spoken

    English

  • Travels From

    New York, USA

  • Michael Massimino`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Michael Massimino`s U.S. Speaking Fee

    Please Inquire

  • Languages Spoken

    English

  • Travels From

    New York, USA

Suggested Keynote Speaker Programs

An Astronaut’s View on Overcoming the Challenges of Separation and Sheltering in Place

Over the past few months a common joke I hear from family and friends is: “Hey Mike, I bet you wish you were in space now!” As a former NASA astronaut with two space shuttle missions and four spacewalks worth of experience, I am finding that my ...

Over the past few months a common joke I hear from family and friends is: “Hey Mike, I bet you wish you were in space now!” As a former NASA astronaut with two space shuttle missions and four spacewalks worth of experience, I am finding that my NASA training and space flights have helped to prepare me for what we are now all going through. I am familiar with feeling separated from the Earth, sheltering in space with my crewmates, executing our mission with our ground control team back on the planet, coping with loss and tragedy, not letting fear get in the way of success, and being resilient to overcome unforeseen challenges while away from traditional support systems.  When I was selected for the NASA Astronaut Class of 1996, astronauts were preparing to be sent to space for longer periods of time and increasingly challenging missions. It became apparent to NASA that this transition in space exploration was not going to be an easy one for the crew members and their families. We looked to endeavors with similar challenges, such as polar exploration, to help us prepare to engage with isolation and hardship. Some of our guidelines were: embracing the situation as best we could; concentrating on meaningful work and developing hobbies; keeping open the lines of communication between friends, family and co-workers back on Earth; enjoying the beauty of our planet; keeping a regular scheduleincluding an emphasis on exercise, hygiene, and health; putting the well-being of our crewmates first by being respectful and practicing good “expedition behavior” while sharing our living area; being flexible to handle unexpected challenges while away from our normal channels for help; and using time away from the hustle and bustle of our normal daily routines to think introspectively about our lives.

I am very grateful that I can help people and organizations get through this difficult time with relatable stories that illustrate lessons learned and provide takeaways to call upon when inspiration and hope is needed, while also mixing in the wonders of spaceflight and a bit of humor.  I enjoy tailoring each talk to effectively connect with the specific audience. My traditional messages of persistence, leadership, and teamwork are still paramount in these stories, and drive home my experiences that our finest moments can come out of our most challenging times.

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Following Dreams, Setting Goals, and Never Giving Up

Mike’s dream of becoming an astronaut began when he was six years old watching television as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. The path to achieving this dream was wrought with unexpected challenges, failures, disappointments, ...

Mike’s dream of becoming an astronaut began when he was six years old watching television as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. The path to achieving this dream was wrought with unexpected challenges, failures, disappointments, and self-doubt. Mike was rejected three times by NASA including a medical disqualification which Mike overcame by teaching his eyes to “see better.” His persistence paid off with two missions on the Space Shuttle and four spacewalks on the Hubble Space Telescope. Mike stresses that as long as you keep trying no matter what the obstacles, achieving your goal is possible. 

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Teamwork and Leadership

Upon arriving at NASA, Mike discovered he was part of team that put the success of the team and the mission above individual accomplishments. The culture at NASA fostered strong relationships between astronauts and with NASA leadership. Teamwork...

Upon arriving at NASA, Mike discovered he was part of team that put the success of the team and the mission above individual accomplishments. The culture at NASA fostered strong relationships between astronauts and with NASA leadership. Teamwork and leadership was developed through the extraordinary experiences that Mike and his fellow astronauts shared during their training and spaceflights. Through these experiences strong friendships and working relationships were forged that enable Mike and his colleague’s to complete astronaut training, overcome tragedy, and repair the greatest scientific instrument in space – the Hubble Space Telescope. Mike discusses how teamwork and leadership led to success during his spaceflights and in life. 

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Innovation and Problem Solving

Mike’s second spaceflight was the final Space Shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. On that mission Mike was tasked with the most complicated spacewalk ever attempted: the in-space repair of a delicate scientific instrument ...

Mike’s second spaceflight was the final Space Shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. On that mission Mike was tasked with the most complicated spacewalk ever attempted: the in-space repair of a delicate scientific instrument inside of the telescope. A major miscue during that spacewalk nearly led to failure. But the ground control team and the astronaut’s in space worked together to come up with an innovative solution that saved the day and the mission. Mike explains how although not every problem has an obvious solution, preparation and innovation can help us with overcoming unforeseen challenges and adapting to change.

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Being Resilient and Adaptable

Mike’s second space flight was one of the last of the Space Shuttle Program. It was time for NASA to retire the space shuttle and move on to the next phase in space exploration. That next phase included flying exclusively on the Russian Soyuz ...

Mike’s second space flight was one of the last of the Space Shuttle Program. It was time for NASA to retire the space shuttle and move on to the next phase in space exploration. That next phase included flying exclusively on the Russian Soyuz for the foreseeable future, and working with commercial companies in the coming age of private space travel. Many at NASA did not want to accept these changes. But the last few years have shown that those who accepted these changes have thrived, while those who resisted are no longer contributing. Technological progress and entrepreneurship are inevitable in every industry, and the NASA team learned to embrace the changes in order to move on to that next phase. We now have partnerships and burgeoning private space industry. Our future in space is bright because of these changes. 

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Recognizing the Purpose in your Work

No matter how much we enjoy our jobs we sometimes get caught up in the day to day activities and can forget the big picture. This can even happen to astronauts. Mike stresses the importance of trying to remember the reason why we work as hard as...

No matter how much we enjoy our jobs we sometimes get caught up in the day to day activities and can forget the big picture. This can even happen to astronauts. Mike stresses the importance of trying to remember the reason why we work as hard as we do. In addition to supporting our families and enjoying the challenges of our jobs, we should always remember how we are making the world a better place through our work. For Mike, as an astronaut, it was servicing and repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. Arguably the greatest scientific instrument ever built, Hubble made some of the greatest scientific discoveries in history while showing us the beauty of our universe. Contributing to great projects makes all the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.

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Finding and Pursuing that Next Challenge

After realizing a dream, there comes a time when one needs to find that next dream in life.  For Mike, his astronaut career was a little boy dream come true. After 18 years it was time to find a new...

After realizing a dream, there comes a time when one needs to find that next dream in life. 

For Mike, his astronaut career was a little boy dream come true. After 18 years it was time to find a new challenge in life and a new dream. Mike discusses the difficulty of giving up the most exciting and interesting job he could ever have for the next phase in life. New challenges are needed for happiness, and there is no reason why one dream job cannot be replaced by another. In Mike’s case that has meant a new career as a university professor, museum advisor, author, television personality, and speaker sharing his lessons and experiences from his life as an astronaut

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An Astronaut’s View on Planet Earth

The orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope is 350 miles above the Earth, 100 miles higher than the International Space Station. From that altitude, astronauts are able to see the curvature of our planet, and spacewalking astronauts are able to take...

The orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope is 350 miles above the Earth, 100 miles higher than the International Space Station. From that altitude, astronauts are able to see the curvature of our planet, and spacewalking astronauts are able to take in the magnificent views through their helmet visors with a 360- degree view of our planet and the surrounding universe. Mike describes his observations and feelings while viewing our planet, including its fragility and the importance of taking care of it. 

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Private Space Travel and the Future of Spaceflight

We are in a very interesting time for space travel, transitioning from over 50 years of human space programs conducted exclusively by governments, to programs that provide new opportunities for private enterprise. It is similar to air travel a ...

We are in a very interesting time for space travel, transitioning from over 50 years of human space programs conducted exclusively by governments, to programs that provide new opportunities for private enterprise. It is similar to air travel a century ago when airplanes were used for government and military purposes and for barnstorming. Those early years led to the thriving commercial airline industry of today. Some of these programs are governments working with private enterprise such as the NASA Commercial Crew Program with Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Others are more purely commercial companies such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. There are also many smaller companies developing private space opportunities in tourism, rocket propulsion, zero gravity 

science, and planetary exploration. Mike’s students at Columbia, as well as students he meets around the world, are very excited about careers in the space program, because in the near future it will not only be governments going to space, but also private innovators and entrepreneurs. 

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STEM Education

Inspired at age 6 to become an astronaut while watching Neil Armstrong taking the first steps on the moon, Mike had no idea how to make his idea come true. But he discovered in elementary, middle, and high school that he liked math and science ...

Inspired at age 6 to become an astronaut while watching Neil Armstrong taking the first steps on the moon, Mike had no idea how to make his idea come true. But he discovered in elementary, middle, and high school that he liked math and science and decided to study engineering in college. Although being an astronaut was not on his mind in college, Mike followed his STEM interests which eventually would lead him to NASA and the astronaut program. Following one’s interests can lead toward a happy and successful career even if a person is undecided about what they want to do with their lives while in school. Mike’s parents never had the opportunity to go to college, but going to college and getting a STEM education changed his life. He learned not only about engineering, but also about how dreams come true – by getting an education in an area in which one is passionate. 

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Safety is Everyone’s Job

Mike’s first flight was on Space Shuttle Columbia STS-109. The very next time Columbia went to space with the crew of STS-107, it had a breach in its thermal protection system while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere destroying the vehicle ...

Mike’s first flight was on Space Shuttle Columbia STS-109. The very next time Columbia went to space with the crew of STS-107, it had a breach in its thermal protection system while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere destroying the vehicle and killing everyone on board. Space shuttle missions are generally flown in order. STS-107 was assigned prior to and was originally scheduled to fly before STS-109. But launch delays forced NASA planners to switch the flight order. Mike’s crew got the slot previously given to STS-107, and STS-107 got the original STS-109 slot. Mike and his crew returned safely to Earth, the crew of STS-107 did not. Spaceflight is a dangerous business and now it had claimed the lives of 7 of his friends. Mike found that much can be learned from investigating space flight accidents, not only the Columbia accident but also the Challenger Space Shuttle accident and the Apollo 1 fire. He shares lessons learned from tragic accidents and miscues and how to move forward. The biggest lesson is that safety is everyone’s job, and everyone has a responsibility to speak up when an unsafe situation arises. 

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About Keynote Speaker Michael Massimino

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. He has had a recurring role as himself on the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” is the host for the Science Channel Series “The Planets and Beyond,” was featured in National Geographic Television’s “One Strange Rock,” is a frequent expert guest on news programs and late night television (including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC, and The Late Show with David Letterman), and has been called the real-life astronaut who inspired George Clooney’s role in the movie “Gravity.” He lives in New York City.

Testimonials

“Mike was really great to work with and just some amazing stories and we’re bummed our clients couldn’t meet him in person, but we think this is the next best thing. Sort of like him talking to us from space. Many of his stories are very topical to what we are all going through right now including the quarantine astronauts go through before going into space and the isolation even in space being disconnected from the world. The story of teamwork with his fellow astronaut classmates was especially powerful for me—this idea that we win or lose together. A great reminder that we’re all in this together right now. And I enjoyed his story about needing to both accept change and anticipate change in the same moment. You have 30 seconds of venting, ranting, or feeling sorry for yourself—and then you move forward. Because the only constant is change. Really powerful! Please thank him for us.”

Personify, Inc

 

“OMG – he was awesome! Everyone loved him!! He stayed to sign books and I think all 300 people waited in line to have him do so. We extended lunch by 30 min. so that everyone could have a chance to meet him, get their photos with him, and get their books signed. Mike is so genuine and so personable. He mingled with everyone before and after his talk. He is truly fabulous. We’ll certainly recommend him to other groups within UnitedHealth Group. We couldn’t have had a better motivator for our team.”

United Healthcare

 

“Mike Massimino was a great hit at our annual employee kickoff. Mike did an amazing job getting a full understanding of our company, and incorporating it in his speech. He captured the entire audience from begin to end, and he was just a perfect fit for the event.”

Imprivata

 

“I had the pleasure of hiring Mike to be our closing guest speaker at our annual user summit in January 2019 in Houston. In my role over the years, I have hired countless speakers to close out large user events and I will say that Mike is one of the best that I have ever hired. Not only is he a down to earth person and easy to talk with, but the message he delivers relates to everyone. Normally when you hire an external speaker to close out an event, there is usually a good size drop-off of people who are trying to catch a flight out of town. Not in our case. I looked around the room when Mike started and it was close to being as crowded as day 1 of the event (roughly 1300 people). Also afterwards, Mike signed his books for attendees and we estimate that 500+ were in line to get a book signed. I would HIGHLY recommend Mike to anyone who needs a closing guest speaker.”

Acumatica

 

“Mike was great. He did a fantastic job of engaging the audience with his stories and down-to- earth style (pardon the pun). He hit the mark on our key messages, but didn’t beat people over the head with them. He integrated them seamlessly into his stories. I also appreciated that he hung around and chatted with a number of our colleagues after his remarks – even if it did nearly cause him to miss his flight. All told, he was a hit.”

CVS Caremark

 

” Mike was a hit and made everyone’s day. His presentation was really well done and set a great, positive and fun tone for our event. He was an absolute pleasure to work with. We really appreciate all the time he took to speak and take pictures with our customers.” “Everyone loved him and his keynote was stellar. We absolutely loved having him at Zoomtopia.”

Zoom

 

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