Dr. Michael J. Massimino (born August 19, 1962, Oceanside, NY) is a former NASA astronaut, who is a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, both of which serviced the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), including the historic final repair mission. Akin to Howard Wolowitz, he graduated from Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and worked as an aerospace engineer, focusing on space robotics systems and human-machine interfaces for space systems.
Mike Massimino contacts Howard via Skype.
In "The Friendship Contraction", Mike Massimino contacts Howard at his home via Skype for a NASA video conference about his upcoming duties as a payload specialist on Expedition 31 to the International Space Station. After Mike reveals his astronaut nickname to be "Mass", which Howard misinterprets as a reference to Newton's second law of motion (as reduced to the familiar Force = Mass x Acceleration), but actually is just his last name, Howard has Raj call him to play his phone ringtone, Sir Elton John's "Rocket Man", and states it is his favorite song in an attempt to convince Massimino to designate him Howard "Rocket Man" Wolowitz. However, when Howard's mother screams to him that his Froot Loop cereal will become soggy, Mike decides Howard's astro-nickname will be "Froot Loops", much to Howard's dismay.
Mike Massimino (right) inside the Russian Soyuz capsule next to cosmonaut D. Rezinov.
He reappears in the "The Countdown Reflection" aboard a Soyuz capsule as a crew member of the rescheduled Expedition 31, alongside Howard and Russian cosmonaut Dimitri. Mike mistakes Howard's expression of fear during the review of the launch steps to be a display of humor and asks him if he can hit his fan switch, while referring to him as "Froot Loops". After Dimitri subsequently inquires as to the origin of this nickname, Massimino adds that Howard actually just married a girl. During the final countdown, he casually discusses the responsibilities of owning a dog with his Russian comrade, but attempts to introduce a space-related topic of conversation in order to ease Howard's tension. However, when Mission Control informs the crew of a fuel leak, Mike insists that Howard not lose his Froot Loops over the matter. With ignition, Massimino proclaims his love for that part of the launch procedure.