Mike Massimino has traveled to space twice to make repairs to the Hubble telescope, but now he is embarking on a new adventure — as a television producer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The Big Bang Theory” co-creator Bill Prady is working with the Franklin Square-native to create a scripted comedy inspired by his life. The untitled show would explore what happens when someone’s dream of following in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin collide with the reality of being a divorced father. It would be co-written by Dan Greaney, of “The Simpsons” and “The Office,” and Jamie Widdoes, of “Mom” and “Two and a Half Men,” would be the executive producer.
Massimino first became interested in space travel when he watched Armstrong walk on the moon. He was only 6 at the time, and walked outside after the broadcast to stare at the moon, awestruck that a human being was walking on its surface at the exact same time.
That inspired him to study science at John Street School and H. Frank Carey High School, and he went on to earn a degree in engineering from Columbia University. But despite his impressive education, becoming an astronaut still felt like an impossible dream.
Then one day in 1985, his mother told him about the Cradle of Aviation’s Space Fair, and Massimino decided to attend. He recalled feeling that same childlike wonder as in 1969 as he learned about NASA’s space shuttle program, but what really pushed Massimino was a chance meeting with a random teenager.
“I can’t remember what his name was, but he told me everything he had done to become an astronaut and how he plotted each step in his future to make that dream come true,” Massimino said at the Cradle in 2018. “Here I was, 23-years-old, and this 15-year-old had his life more thought out than me.”
Massimino decided to gamble on his dream and began volunteering at the Cradle to learn all he could about NASA. He went on to MIT to earn his Ph D in mechanical engineering, and while at MIT, he tried applying for NASA’s space program, but they rejected him three times. Massimino explained that although he felt disheartened, he just couldn’t see himself giving up.
“A buddy of mine, who I thought was a shoe-in, also kept getting rejected, and he gave up,” Massimino said. “At that moment, his chances of becoming an astronaut was zero, but I still had a chance as long as I kept at it.”
On his fourth try, NASA accepted Massimino in 1996.