Monday, November 21, 2016

ASTRONAUT - The Book "Spaceman"

"How setbacks and failures shaped an improbable astronaut" PBS NewsHour 11/16/2016


SUMMARY:  It's completely improbable that Mike Massimino actually became an astronaut.  With a fear of heights, impaired vision and difficulty with swimming, he calls his achievement a miracle, but his is a story of overcoming setbacks.  In his new book, “Spaceman,” Massimino details his long and difficult journey.  He talks with science correspondent Miles O'Brien.

MILES O'BRIEN (NewsHour):  Mike Massimino went to low-Earth orbit twice aboard the space shuttle, both times to repair the Hubble space telescope.  In his new book, “Spaceman,” he details the long and difficult journey he took to become an astronaut.

So, you're afraid of heights.

MICHAEL MASSIMINO, Author, “Spaceman”:  Yes, I still am.  I don't like this right here, Miles.  I'm a little worried.

MILES O'BRIEN:  You don't swim very well.

MICHAEL MASSIMINO:  No.  The hardest thing for me as an astronaut was to improve my swimming skills.

MILES O'BRIEN:  Vision was a problem, a real problem.

MICHAEL MASSIMINO:  Imagine being D.Q.ed because I couldn't see well enough.

MILES O'BRIEN:  And you barely got through the program at MIT.


MILES O'BRIEN:  So, really, it's completely improbable that you became an astronaut.  Right?

MICHAEL MASSIMINO:  Yes, yes, absolutely.

MILES O'BRIEN:  We met beside the shuttle Enterprise display at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City, his hometown.

It occurs to me, though, that the lessons you learned all along the way, then, dealing — coping and dealing with those setbacks, those failures, the resilience, are exactly what you need to go through to become an astronaut.

MICHAEL MASSIMINO:  Aha.  Now we're getting at something.

I think you're right, yes.  It's not a question of being the best at something or things coming easy to you, but it's being a person that can work with others and not give up.  And, for me, that was part of it too.

At every step of the way, when I had trouble, there were people that came in, in my life that helped me.  It's important to go seek help when you need it, and to give help when other people need it.  And that is really more important than coming in with a gigantic brain into the astronaut program.

No comments: