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Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino gives free lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Astronaut Mike Massimino: From Long Island to Space

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
June 24, 2018

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, JOSHUA STOFF, Curator of Cradle of Aviation Museum; astronaut MICHAEL MASSIMINO; ANDREW PARTON, Executive Director of CAM; and GREG SANTI, Human Resources Manager at Curtiss Wright, pose at 10th Annual Luncheon. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Josh Stoff, Curator of Cradle of Aviation Museum; astronaut Mike Massimino; Andy Parton, Exec. Director of CAM; and Greg Santi, HR Manager at Curtiss-Wright, pose with illustration of Massimino. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

NASA space shuttle astronaut MICHAEL J. MASSIMINO – Franklin Square’s inspiring and 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 free lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO is holding GIOVANNI, 3 1/2 years old, from Manhasset, wearing an astronaut's space suit costume, after the museum's Members Meet & Greet. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino holds Giovanni, 3 1/2 years old, from Manhasset, wearing an astronaut spacesuit costume. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Air & Space Hall of Fame Induction for Class of 2018

Mike Massimino, aviation pioneers LOUIS and CONNIE MANCUSO, and aviator and Newsday founder ALICIA PATTERSON were the inductees for the Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 honored during the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Annual Luncheon, presented by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Astronaut Mike Massimino, Deborah Henley, and Louis Mancuso Jr. pose at Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Astronaut Mike Massimino, Deborah Henley, and Louis Mancuso Jr. pose at Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

A highlight of Massimino’s acceptance speech was when he poetically described 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.”

  • VIDEO of Massimino’s 8-minute acceptance speech:

The other inductees were honored posthumously: 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 asked about space food, Massimino 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).

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino, a Long Island native, gives free lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. In the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium, Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino displays photo of him sending email to Johnson Space Center for his twitter feed. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Evening with Mike Massimino Lecture

Massimino’s lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium was part of the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Countdown to Apollo at 50, a multiyear celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Astronaut Mike Massimino gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

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 a 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 wearing a genuine spacesuit that summer.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum. Volunteer puppy raiser FLORENCE SCARINCI is seated next to dog she's training from Canine Companions for Independence, a Medford non-profit. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum. Volunteer puppy raiser FLORENCE SCARINCI is seated next to dog she’s training from Canine Companions for Independence, a Medford non-profit. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

NASA rejected Massimino when he applied to be an astronaut – the first, second and third times. Persevering, he applied a fourth time – and the rest is Hubble Space Telescope repairs and recurring role of playing himself on The Big Bang Theory history.  

In one of the photos Massimino displayed on the dome, he was in the space shuttle writing the first tweet ever from space. Here’s that message he sent 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.”

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Former NASA astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO is inducted into Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. NASA astronaut Mike Massimino is inducted into Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Astronauts

I first saw Mike Massimino in 2010, during Cradle of Aviation Museum’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.”  

In fact, many astronauts I’ve crossed orbits with also exuded a personable, centered quality – not surprisingly, since it’s an essential quality for working well in space. 

“Spaceman”

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 at Durham Academy, NC, and fellow aerospace and astronomy buff.

Site:  MikeMassimino.com | twitter:  @Astro_Mike

Mike Massimino Lecture:  SLIDESHOW | GALLERY

Air & Space Hall of Fame 2018:  SLIDESHOW | GALLERY

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Steve Israel Brings Out His BIG GUNS on Long Island

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
April 22, 2018

Rep. STEVE ISRAEL – the former N.Y. Congressman now on his second literary campaign – packed Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine last Friday night when his new novel “Big Guns” made its Nassau County debut at the neighborhood book store/cafe bar in Rockville Centre.

Rockville Centre, New York, USA. April 20, 2018. R-L, Author STEVE ISRAEL and Moderator RITA KESTENBAUM hold Israel’s newest novel BIG GUNS at special event for the former Congressman’s book at Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Rockville Centre, New York, USA. April 20, 2018. R-L, Author STEVE ISRAEL and Moderator RITA KESTENBAUM hold Israel’s newest novel BIG GUNS at event for former Congressman’s book. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

“Big Guns” is a satire about America’s 800-rounds-gorilla gun lobby, a feckless Congress, and the small fictional town of Asabogue on Long Island’s East End. 

Moderator RITA KESTENBAUM – a gun-control activist, non-profit founder, and former Hempstead Town Councilwoman whose daughter was senselessly shot to death while away at college – introduced Israel after brief words from a couple of local officials, including Hempstead Town Supervisor LAURA GILLEN who told how, early in her legal career, she quit after her first day on a job when she learned the NRA was a major client of the firm.

Rockville Centre, NY, USA. April 201, 2018. Sitting facing audience, Rep. STEVE ISRAEL speaks at event for the former Congressman's newest novel BIG GUNS, at Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine. Left of Israel is Moderator RITA KESTENBAUM. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Rockville Centre, NY, USA. April 201, 2018. Sitting facing audience, Rep. STEVE ISRAEL speaks at event for the former Congressman’s newest novel BIG GUNS, at Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine. Left of Israel is Moderator RITA KESTENBAUM. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

With the sharp insight and wit noted in reviews of “Big Guns” and his debut novel “The Global War on Morris,” Israel shared details of his writing process and general experiences with fellow Congress members, especially while in the privacy of the Senate elevator, that helped shape the novel Congress. 

The first time I covered this event’s author and moderator together was a 2016 Panel on Preventing Gun Violence that then-Congressman Israel co-hosted with Hillary Clinton in Port Washington, with Rita Kestenbaum as one of five panelists who lost a family member due to gun violence.

Friday night, when asked if he saw a chance for more effective gun-control laws, Steve Israel mentioned – with fettered optimism I happen to share – the social media savvy Never Again movement created by teen survivors of February’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High mass shooting. 

Rockville Centre, New York, USA. April 201, 2018. Rep. STEVE ISRAEL signs book for a fan at special event for the former Congressman's newest novel BIG GUNS, at Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine store. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Rockville Centre, New York, USA. April 201, 2018. Rep. STEVE ISRAEL signs book for a fan at special event for the former Congressman’s newest novel BIG GUNS. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

After the Q&A, Israel signed copies of his book, with the line of “Big Guns” toting fans trailing into the bar in the next room.

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