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Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the…

by Mike Massimino

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18117118,976 (4.36)8
"A memoir by an unlikely astronaut who helped save the Hubble telescope describes his early attempts to gain admission into NASA, his first spacewalks, the loss of his fellow astronauts in the Columbia disaster, his decision not to return to space and his ongoing support of future space-travel ventures, "--NoveList. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that's about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit, with all the zip and buoyancy of life in microgravity. Massimino's childhood space dreams were born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Growing up in a working-class Long Island family, he catapulted himself to Columbia and then MIT, only to flunk his first doctoral exam and be rejected three times by NASA before making it through the final round of astronaut selection. Taking us through the surreal wonder and beauty of his first spacewalk, the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and the development of his enduring love for the Hubble Telescope--which he and his fellow astronauts were tasked with saving on his final mission--Massimino has written an ode to never giving up and the power of teamwork to make anything possible, revealing just what having "the right stuff" really means.--Adapted from dust jacket.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Very similar to reading Chris Hadfield's biography, yet Hubble is much further away, so the view of earth was more of a sphere. The book was mostly about the author's personal perseverance to achieve his goals. I enjoyed his descriptions of training, how much he appreciated the immensely supportive team behind him, working with them, his two missions with the telescope, his problems with eyesight, and how important Hubble is. ( )
  AChild | Feb 17, 2021 |
This is another autobiography where the author/subject seems like a great person, but the book itself is pretty much everything I hate in biographies. It's about a topic I love (space! engineering! although I'm not a big fan of NASA, especially in the Shuttle era), but the entire book is "I'm a normal guy, becoming an astronaut was a series of hard challenges which seemed overcome which I overcame by working hard". Pretty much the NASA PR line. Very little technical content (what there is, was good, but it was maybe 5-10% of the book), almost all personal memoir. Even the technical stuff was "this is what I did", not "why".

(The best part of the whole book for me was when he applied to MIT STS program thinking it would be useful, which (as an MIT undergrad (dropout) I knew was a horrible idea) in a few pages more he revealed to have been a mistake of having bad information and confusion with a more useful program. It was pretty weird how reverent he was about MIT -- it's gone way downhill overall, although Aero/Astro 16 has remained pretty decent longer than other programs, and maybe he was a decade or two before it became terminal.)

I skipped through more and more of the book as it went on, and it didn't substantially change. If you like "inspirational memoirs about normal people doing extraordinary things, and you can do", maybe you'll enjoy this, but I really didn't like the book. The author's interviews/etc. are a lot better; I'd probably just go for those. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
What makes someone aspire to be an astronaut? How does one train for a space mission? What's it like, if you're one of the fortunate few chosen to go up in space?

If you're seeking the answers to these questions, Mike Massimino's book "Spaceman" is a good place to start.

The story is told in an engaging manner, with the narrator coming through as a man who always remembers his humble beginnings. Through the accounts of the training and the missions themselves, Massimino shares enough of the sensory details that you get an image of what it was like. Massimino's account comes across as being honest and genuine -- he's not afraid to put himself in a less-than-flattering light.

The book also doesn't shy away from the dangers of space missions and training, sharing both the triumph and tragedy.

Just one warning -- it's easy to feel like a real slouch when you read what these men and women go through to get into the space program, and the intensity of the training they endure once there!

  LisaTimpf | Sep 23, 2020 |
Wow! This book spoke to all people who want to grow up to be an astronaut. It spoke very specifically to me, because the author's two flights were to service the Hubble. I wrote part of the software for the Hubble ground station, and especially loved hearing about the Hubble in space. I was fascinated and enchanted. ( )
  EowynA | Apr 26, 2020 |
Memoir. Couldn't stay interested. Seemed self-indulgent and self-serving… I guess that is what memoirs are like. Kind of boring.
  JohnLavik | Mar 29, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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To Gabby and Daniel:
Thank you for showing me a love that I never knew was possible, 
and for providing me with not only the inspiration 
to follow my dreams but with the drive to set
and example for you to do the same.
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On March 1, 2002, I left Earth for the first time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A memoir by an unlikely astronaut who helped save the Hubble telescope describes his early attempts to gain admission into NASA, his first spacewalks, the loss of his fellow astronauts in the Columbia disaster, his decision not to return to space and his ongoing support of future space-travel ventures, "--NoveList. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that's about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit, with all the zip and buoyancy of life in microgravity. Massimino's childhood space dreams were born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Growing up in a working-class Long Island family, he catapulted himself to Columbia and then MIT, only to flunk his first doctoral exam and be rejected three times by NASA before making it through the final round of astronaut selection. Taking us through the surreal wonder and beauty of his first spacewalk, the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and the development of his enduring love for the Hubble Telescope--which he and his fellow astronauts were tasked with saving on his final mission--Massimino has written an ode to never giving up and the power of teamwork to make anything possible, revealing just what having "the right stuff" really means.--Adapted from dust jacket.

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