Luca Parmitano

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Luca Parmitano
Luca Parmitano EMU.jpg
Born (1976-09-27) September 27, 1976 (age 43)
OccupationPilot, Italian Air Force
Space career
ASI/ESA Astronaut
Previous occupation
Test Pilot
Time in space
Currently in space
Selection2009 ESA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
26 hours, 53 minutes
MissionsSoyuz TMA-09M (Expedition 36/37), Soyuz MS-13 (Expedition 60/61)
Mission insignia
Soyuz-TMA-09M-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 36 Patch.png ISS Expedition 37 Patch.png Soyuz-MS-13-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 60 Patch.svg ISS Expedition 61 Patch.svg

Luca Parmitano (born 27 September 1976 in Paternò, Sicily) is an Italian engineer and astronaut in the European Astronaut Corps for the European Space Agency (ESA). The astronauts work on missions at the International Space Station. He was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009. Parmitano is also a Colonel and pilot for the Italian Air Force.[1] Parmitano is the youngest astronaut to undertake a long-duration mission, at 36 years and eight months old on the launch day of his mission.


Parmitano considers Catania his hometown. He is married to American Kathryn "Kathy" Dillow[2] and has two daughters.[3] He is an active scuba diver and enjoys snowboarding, skydiving, weight training and swimming. Other interests include reading and listening to water music.


Parmitano graduated from the Liceo Scientifico Statale "Galileo Galilei" in Catania, Italy, in 1995. Parmitano spent a year (1993) as an exchange student at Mission Viejo High School in Mission Viejo, California in the United States with AFS Intercultural Programs.

In 1999, he completed a master's degree in political sciences at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, with a thesis on international law. In 2000, he graduated with Sparviero IV academic course, from the Italian Accademia Aeronautica, in Pozzuoli, Italy.

Parmitano completed basic training with the U.S. Air Force at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas in the United States in 2001. He completed the JCO/CAS course with the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) in Sembach, Germany, in 2002.

In 2003, he qualified as Electronic Warfare Officer at the Reparto Supporto Tecnico Operativo Guerra Elettronica (ReSTOGE) in Pratica di Mare, Italy. He completed the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) in Florennes, Belgium, in 2005.

In July 2009, Parmitano completed a master's degree in experimental flight test engineering at the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE), in Toulouse, France.

Special honours[edit]

In 2007 Parmitano was awarded the Medaglia d'Argento al Valore Aeronautico (Silver Medal of Aeronautic Valor) by the President of the Italian Republic after safely landing his AMX in an emergency due to a bird strike.[4]

Asteroid 37627 Lucaparmitano is named after him.[5]


Parmitano performing his first EVA

Parmitano is a Colonel in the Italian Air Force and an Astronaut of the European Space Agency. He has logged more than 2000 hours flying time, is qualified on more than 20 types of military aircraft (both fixed-wing and rotary-wing) and has flown over 40 types of aircraft.

Following completion of undergraduate pilot training in 2001, Parmitano flew the AMX aircraft with the 13th Squadron, 32nd Wing in Amendola, Italy, from 2001 to 2007. During that time, he obtained all the qualifications on that aircraft, including Combat Ready, Four Ship Leader, and Mission Commander/Package Leader.

Within the 13th Squadron, he served as Chief of Training Section and Commander of the 76th Flight. He was also the 32nd Wing Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO).

In 2007, he was selected by the Italian Air Force to become a test pilot and qualified as Experimental Test Pilot at EPNER, the French test pilot school in Istres.

In ESA[edit]

In May 2009, Parmitano was selected as an ESA astronaut as part of the 2009 class. In July 2015, Parmitano became an aquanaut when he served as commander of the NEEMO 20 crew.[6]

Expedition 36/37[edit]

In February 2011, he was assigned as a flight engineer to Expedition 36/37 (a long-duration mission to the International Space Station), which launched aboard Soyuz TMA-09M on 28 May 2013 and arrived at the ISS on 29 May. His mission is called Volare, which means "to fly" in Italian[7] and is reminiscent of a very famous song by the Italian singer Domenico Modugno.

In May 2013 Parmitano partnered with his 15-year-old mentee Abigail Harrison to have her serve as his Earth liaison during his mission on Expedition 36 and Expedition 37. Harrison shared Parmitano's experience of living in space on the International Space Station with her online community on social media and her blog, where she is known as "Astronaut Abby".[8]

Parmitano (left), pictured with Expedition 36 crew member Chris Cassidy

On 9 July 2013, he became the first Italian to take part in a spacewalk as he and Chris Cassidy conducted an EVA out of the ISS' quest airlock to install power cables, retrieve material research samples (MISSE-8) and accomplish a number of maintenance tasks. During the EVA, Parmitano also got to ride on the ISS' Mobile Servicing System for the installation of a couple of radiator grapple bars previously flown up on SpaceX' CRS-2 mission. The EVA was part of preparations for the new Russian multipurpose module planned to replace the Pirs docking compartment by the end of 2013.[9] In 2013, AOL's BermanBraun listed his space selfie taken during this spacewalk as one of the 50 best space photos of the year.[10]

His second EVA on July 16, 2013 was terminated after only 1 hour and 32 minutes, when the helmet of his Extravehicular Mobility Unit suit started filling with water.[11][12] Water in his helmet posed the danger of drowning and made his return to the airlock even more difficult, as orbital sunset had occurred just before he started to return.[13] Engineers found that contamination had clogged one of the suit's filters, causing water from the suit's cooling system to back up.[14] On 15 January 2016, astronaut Timothy Kopra experienced a water leak in the same spacesuit.[15] Parmitano returned to Earth on 11 November 2013 aboard Soyuz TMA-09M.

Expedition 60/61[edit]

In May 2018 ESA announced that Parmitano would return to the space station onboard the Soyuz MS-13 mission, to serve as Flight Engineer on Expedition 60 and Commander on Expedition 61.[16] Parmitano launched on 20 July 2019 and arrived at the International Space Station on the same day.[17] He became the first DJ in space on 13 August 2019, when he played a set of electronic music from the ISS for a music festival audience in Ibiza[18]. On 15 November he ventured outside the ISS for the first time since his ill-fated spacewalk in 2013, on the first of at least four spacewalks to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer[19].


  1. ^ "ESA Personal Data Sheet for Luca Parmitano". Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  2. ^]
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Conferimento di onorificenza al Valore aeronautico (GU n.67 del 21-3-2007). Retrieved 18 June 2018 (in Italian).
  5. ^ "Asteroid Luce". ESA. October 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "crew of NEEMO 20". 20 July 2015.
  7. ^ ESA Soyuz TMA-09M, Volare mission, Multimedia Gallery, 2013.
  8. ^ "'Astronaut Abby' is crowdfunding her way to outer space". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  9. ^ "EVA-22-Cassidy-Parmitano-ISS-Spacewalk". Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  10. ^ "The 50 Best Space Photos of 2013". BermanBraun. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Spacewalk aborted by spacesuit water leak". Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  12. ^ "EVA-23 terminated due to Parmitano EMU issue". Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  13. ^ "EVA 23: exploring the frontier". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  14. ^ Chang, Kenneth. "NASA Solves Helmet Leak With Makeshift Snorkels". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  15. ^ Stanglin, Doug (15 January 2016). "Spacewalk aborted after water leaks into astronaut's helmet". USA Today. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  16. ^ "ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano to be Space Station commander on his next flight". ESA. May 31, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Gebhardt, Chirs (July 20, 2019). "Soyuz-FG on penultimate flight delivers three new crewmembers for ISS –".
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Aleksey Ovchinin
ISS Expedition Commander
October 3, 2019-
Succeeded by