John Glenn. Buzz Aldrin. Sally Ride. NASA fans know these names, but not everyone knows the name Mike Massimino. Well, that may be about to change. Massimino, or “Mass” to his friends, was part of a repair mission to the Hubble telescope and has lent his expertise and screen time to TV shows like The Big Bang Theory. He grew up a young Mets fan, and ended up an astronaut.
In Massimino’s new book, Spaceman, this astronaut lovingly tells the story of growing up fascinated with space and the hard work and determination it took to become one of the few chosen to represent the United States of America in Space. He is smart, funny, and easily accessible through the whole book. While he graduated from the likes MIT, he tells his story in a way that makes it easy to understand for a variety of audiences. He is respectful, smart, and at the very core a fanboy of the spaceprogram.
Spaceman isn’t all feel good, however. It goes through the very real losses associated with the Columbia incident in 2003. As described in the book, flight crews become a real family to one another, and losing their friends in such a tragic way was agonizing. Massimino doesn’t hold back on his feelings in this section, even referencing the fact that if some timing had changed he would have been on that Columbia mission.
Spaceman is enjoyable and brings up many things you’d never think an astronaut would have to do or be prepared for. For example, astronauts are quarantined before their flights. While it’s a pain in the butt to get a cold from your coworker, can you imagine getting one while in space? They also have to go through training at a place called Cold Lake, where they suffer for several days to find their breaking points and find ways to work through exhaustion. It isn’t all cool space suits, folks.
Spaceman is now available from Crown Books.