|Born||26 April 1977|
|Alma mater||University of Naples Federico II|
Time in space
|199d 16h 42min|
|Selection||2009 ESA Group|
|Missions||Soyuz TMA-15M (Expedition 42/43), SpaceX Crew-4 (Expedition 67/68)|
Captain Samantha Cristoforetti, OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [saˈmanta kristofoˈretti]; born 26 April 1977) is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut, former Italian Air Force pilot and engineer. She holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours), and until June 2017 held the record for the longest single space flight by a woman until this was broken by Peggy Whitson and later by Christina Koch. She is also the first Italian woman in space. She is scheduled to take command of ISS Expedition 68 in 2022.
She studied in Bolzano and Trento and graduated from the Technical University of Munich with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She studied at the École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique et de l'espace in Toulouse, France, and at the Mendeleev Russian University of Chemistry and Technology in Moscow. She graduated in Aeronautics Sciences (University 'Federico II', Naples) at the Accademia Aeronautica in Pozzuoli, becoming one of the first women to be a lieutenant and fighter pilot in the Italian Air Force. She is the second Space Camp alumnus in orbit. As part of her training, she completed the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot training. She has logged over 500 hours and has flown six types of military aircraft: SF-260, T-37, T-38, MB-339A, MB-339CD and AM-X.
Cristoforetti was officially selected as an astronaut in 2009 by the European Space Agency, from a population of 8000 applicants.
On 23 November 2014, Soyuz TMA-15M, carrying Cristoforetti and two other astronauts launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It successfully docked at the International Space Station roughly six hours later. Cristoforetti, along with her crew mates, returned safely from the ISS on 11 June 2015. She stayed 199 days in space and so became the holder of the record for the longest single mission for a woman. Previously, the NASA astronaut Sunita Williams held that record with 195 days after her Expedition 33 mission to the ISS. Cristoforetti's record was beaten on 5 June 2017 by Peggy Whitson during Expedition 52 and on 28 December 2019 by Christina Koch during Expedition 60.
Cristoforetti's mission to the ISS was called Futura. During her stay she performed numerous scientific experiments simulating prolonged stay in space and Lunar and Mars orbit. She was the primary operator during the undocking of the ATV-5. In February 2015, she began the outreach program "Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut", where students 8–12 years old were challenged to get fit during a nine-week program, while Cristoforetti trained in space. Other outreach activities included learning how the Spirulina algae can be a source of food, while creating photosynthesis in a recycled air environment.
Cristoforetti was slated for 1, up to possibly 3, space walks, however when part of her personal EVA equipment was lost due to the failed launch of the Orbital Cygnus Orb-3 mission in October 2014, those EVAs were scrapped. That equipment for the ISS crew was on board of the failed Orb-3 mission is clear from the manifest of its cargo, which listed: "Total Cargo: 2,215 kg (With packaging: 2,296 kg) of which EVA Equipment: 66 kg."
Cristoforetti has been photographed with references to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on her shirt while her crewmate Anton Shkaplerov had a shirt with the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (being 42). ISS Expedition Mission 42 blog has a special section called "don't panic". In April 2015, the Dragon capsule delivered the ISSpresso, the first zero-G espresso machine which Cristoforetti installed. On May 3, 2015 she brewed the first cup of espresso in space and posted a picture of herself on Twitter, wearing a Starfleet uniform while drinking the espresso, with the comment "'There's coffee in that nebula'... ehm, I mean... in that #Dragon" (referencing Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager, and her love of coffee).  On 28 February 2015, the day following the death of Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Mr. Spock on Star Trek, she photographed herself in the Cupola, wearing a Starfleet pin on her shirt and giving the Vulcan salute. A one-month delay after the failure of two Russian rockets extended her stay in space past the European astronaut and female astronaut endurance records.
On 16 July 2015, she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italian: Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana) by Italian President Mattarella, who said: "She has been followed with affection and love by all Italians." The Order of Merit is the highest ranking honour of the Republic.
Cristoforetti has been assigned to fly to the International Space Station a second time in spring 2022. She will be flying on the fourth mission of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX Crew-4 on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Cristoforetti can speak Italian, English, German, French, and Russian, and she is currently[needs update?] studying Chinese.
Food from Spirulina - How can astronauts sustain themselves on long missions in space? . . . Mission planners are looking at Spirulina algae to provide a source of protein and at the same time to use up excess carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.
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