Curiosity Expert: Michael Massimino
United States Astronaut, NASA
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Upon completing his B.S. degree from Columbia University, Massimino worked for IBM as a systems engineer in New York City from 1984 until 1986. In 1986 he entered graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he conducted research on human operator control of space robotics systems in the MIT Mechanical Engineering Departments Human-Machine Systems Laboratory. His work resulted in the awarding of two patents. While a student at MIT, he worked during the Summer of 1987 as a general engineer at NASA Headquarters in the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology, during the summers of 1988 and 1989 as a research fellow in the Man-Systems Integration Branch at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and during the summer of 1990 as a visiting research engineer at the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
After graduating from MIT in 1992 with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Massimino worked at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace in Houston, Texas as a research engineer where he developed laptop computer displays to assist operators of the Space Shuttle remote manipulator system. These displays included the Manipulator Position Display, which was evaluated on STS-69. From 1992 to 1995 he was also an adjunct assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering & Material Sciences Department at Rice University, where he taught feedback control of mechanical systems. In September 1995, he joined the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. At Georgia Tech, Massimino taught human-machine systems engineering classes and conducted research on human-machine interfaces for space and aircraft systems in the Center for Human-Machine Systems Research.
In May 1996, Massimino was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA; he reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996 and completed two years of initial training and evaluation. He is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Prior to his first space flight assignment, Massimino served in the Astronaut Office Robotics Branch, and in the Astronaut Office Extravehicular Activity (EVA or spacewalking) Branch. In 2002, following his first spaceflight (STS-109), he served as a CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) in Mission Control and as the Astronaut Office Technical Liaison to the Johnson Space Center EVA Program Office. In addition to various technical tasks, Massimino also serves as Chief of the Astronaut Appearances Office and is currently an adjunct professor at Rice University and at Georgia Tech.
A veteran of two space flights, (STS-109 in March 2002 and STS-125 in May 2009) Massimino has logged a total of 571 hours and 47 minutes in space, and a cumulative total of 30 hours and 4 minutes of spacewalking in four spacewalks.