Spaceman

  • by Mike Massimino
  • Narrated by Mike Massimino
  • 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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? Or to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? Or to stand in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, wondering if the emergency repair you're about to make will inadvertently ruin humankind's chance to unlock the universe's secrets? 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. Spaceman invites us into a rare, wonderful world where science meets the most thrilling adventure, revealing just what having "the right stuff" really means.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

There is something wrong with your car

The Moon landings were a long time ago. It's sometimes too easy to forget that there's been a lot going on since then, even if it has been either a) unmanned or b) low Earth orbit.
If you're a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you'll know the writer. He's the real-life American astronaut who appeared as himself and addressed Howard as Fruitloops in several episodes. This gets mentioned quite late on in the book, whereas in the introduction we get to learn just how scary your first flight into space is.
Having the book read by the writer himself is great. He's not just reading, he's remembering. And although the descriptions of space are wonderful, a lot of the rest is too, including the insights into what gives astronauts the right stuff.
The drama of being in space is nailed down in the repeated sentence I've used as a headline: "There is something wrong with your car." Sure, some part is worn, or there's a bit of grit in a spark plug, or whatever, and everything is fine despite this, until some future date when the problem makes itself known. And maybe it makes itself known when you're on your own late at night, or you're on your way to a job interview, or you've got a load of frozen food thawing in the boot. But what's the worst thing that can happen while you're waiting for the person from the AA or RAC to arrive? Whatever it is, compare it to having a failure in space, when oxygen is limited, and working in a spacesuit is more tiring than you probably realised.
This is a highly engaging and fascinating book, strongly recommended for anybody interested in modern space travel.
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- MR

Another spaceman book

I guess Chris Hadfield set the bar pretty high with his book. Where his book was a tale of value-driven hard work and family support, this one is a little different.

I found Mike's narration really enjoyable. He has a lovely authentic voice and it is a treat when an author reads their own book well.

He is clearly a bright guy who achieved an extraordinary task and this book covers some of the milestones on his road to Hubble. He emphasises his twisty and uncertain path and how dogged determination and probably his own smarts helped him overcome things he found difficult. Funnily enough, because he seems so keen to dwell on his limitations and short-comings I was left with the feeling that he was some kind of klutz, which he clearly can't have been.

He is very generous in acknowledging the help and support from colleagues and the huge role that his NASA 'family' has played in his life. His own family, and in particular his wife, remain shadowy and pale in the book. I did think this was a bit odd as surely his family team ought to have been at least as important to him as his colleagues and I was left with a bit of crossness on his invisible wife's behalf.

Anyway, an interesting enough listen for all of that. He included some thoughts about space exploration in the future as the funding for space moves more to the private sector and collaborations. It would have been interesting to hear a bit more of that, but I suppose that is a different book.

I suppose in summary, a workman-like book which was pleasant, but not outstanding.
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- Jumpin' Bean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-10-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios