From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
June 24, 2018
Former NASA astronaut MICHAEL J. MASSIMINO – Franklin Square’s inspiring, fun space ambassador – captivated three audiences this Wednesday, June 21, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, during its 10th Annual Luncheon, a small group Meet & Greet, and a full-house lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium.
Air & Space Hall of Fame Induction for Class of 2018
Mike Massimino, aviation pioneers LOUIS and CONNIE MANCUSO, and pilot and Newsday founder ALICIA PATTERSON, were inducted into the Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 during the Cradle of Aviation’s 10th Annual Luncheon.
- VIDEO of Massimino’s 8-minute acceptance speech:
A highlight of Massimino’s acceptance speech was when he described, in a personal, poetic way, his reaction to seeing the curve of our planet fill his field of vision during his second space walk:
“The beauty of our planet was kinda overwhelming…. This must be the view from heaven…. That’s not quite right…. This is what heaven must look like….
“What made that possible, those memories possible…. all come back here to Long Island…. the mentors I met along the way, this museum being here at the right time in my life to set me on that journey that ended up 350 miles above our planet to work on Hubble.”
LOUIS MANCUSO JR. accepted on behalf of his parents, and DEBORAH HENLEY, Vice President and Executive Editor of Newsday, accepted on behalf of Alicia Patterson.
Meet & Greet
During the Meet & Greet, a few dozen lucky museum members and STEM students (Science Technology Engineering Math) sat around a conference table and asked Massimino questions. When a student asked about space food, he said it was good, and then explained how everything gets recycled, including urine, so “Yesterday’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee,” as Expedition 39 commander Koichi Wakata memorably observed in 2014 about recycling on the ISS (International Space Station).
Evening with Mike Massimino Lecture
Massimino’s lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium was part of the Cradle of Aviation’s Museum Countdown to Apollo at 50, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.
When a young audience member asked Massimino how he became an astronaut, he went into great detail, including how the Cradle of Aviation Museum played an key role when he was growing up.
FYI from FLI: In the late 1980’s, my daughter Sue went to Space Camp at the Cradle of Aviation, then in an unrestored hangar. I’m still searching for the name of the CAM photographer who captured this photo of 10-yr-old Sue in a genuine spacesuit that summer.
When Massimino applied to NASA to be an astronaut, he was rejected. He applied a second time, and was rejected. He applied a third time – and the rest is Hubble Space Telescope repairs and “The Big Bang Theory” history.
Massimino showed a photo where he was using a keyboard while on the space shuttle to write the first tweet ever from space. He sent this message to Johnson Space Center so they could post it on his @Astro_Mike twitter feed:
“From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”
Laughing, he said his tweet didn’t compare well to Neil Armstrong’s 1969 historic first spoken words ever coming from the moon:
“The Eagle has landed. That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
I first saw Mike Massimino in 2010, during Cradle of Aviation’s Legends in Air & Space Lecture series. Seeing him in action throughout Thursday reinforced how he’s an upbeat, self-reflective, cool-nerd sort of guy “everyone would like to be or have as a friend.”
Then it struck me that many of the astronauts I’ve crossed orbits with also exuded a personable, centered quality, and figure it’s not a coincidence but an essential quality for working well in space.
At the museum’s gift shop, I bought two signed copies of Massimino’s 2016 book, “Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe” – one for myself and one for my brother Lou, a physics teacher and fellow aerospace and astronomy buff.