26 April 1977 |
|University of Naples Federico II|
|Rank||Captain, Italian Air Force|
Time in space
|199d 16h 42m|
|Selection||2009 ESA Group|
|Missions||Soyuz TMA-15M (Expedition 42/43)|
Samantha Cristoforetti (Italian pronunciation: [saˈmanta kristofoˈrɛtti]; born 26 April 1977 in Milan) is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer. She holds the records for longest single space flight by a woman (199 days 16 hours) and for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut. She is also the first Italian woman in space. Samantha Cristoforetti is also known as the first person who brewed an espresso coffee in space.
Cristoforetti was born in Milan in 1977. She spent her childhood in Malè, in Val di Sole, Trentino, Italy. When she was 18, she took a US foreign exchange program and attended Space Camp. 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. She now holds the rank of captain.
On 23 November 2014, Soyuz TMA-15M, carrying Cristoforetti and two other astronauts launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, 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.
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 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, when the Dragon capsule bringing the space espresso machine arrived, she posted a picture of herself on Twitter wearing a Starfleet uniform, 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), and again with the first cup of coffee brewed on the ISS. 
Return to Earth
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 20 July 2015 she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italian: Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana) by President Mattarella. "She has been followed with affection and love by all Italians" said the Italian President. The Order of Merit is the senior order of knighthood, the highest ranking honour of the Republic.
Cristoforetti knows Italian, English, German, French, Russian and is studying Chinese.
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- "Sam Cristoforetti on Flicker, A Dragon is coming!#DontPanic". flicker. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- "Don’t panic | Outpost 42". Outpost42.esa.int. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- "Sam Cristoforetti on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- "Samantha overtakes Sunita as holder of longest spaceflight for women". ESA. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
- "Samantha Cristoforetti becomes Cavaliere di Gran Croce". Italoamericano.org. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- Samantha Cristoforetti – Futura Mission (2014), European Space Agency, esa.int; accessed 24 June 2015.
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