Samantha Cristoforetti

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Samantha Cristoforetti
Samantha Cristoforetti official portrait in an EMU spacesuit.jpg
Born (1977-04-26) 26 April 1977 (age 42)
Milan, Italy
Alma materUniversity of Naples Federico II
OccupationFighter pilot
Space career
ASI/ESA Astronaut
RankCaptain, Italian Air Force
Time in space
199d 16h 42min
Selection2009 ESA Group
MissionsSoyuz TMA-15M (Expedition 42/43)
Mission insignia
Soyuz-TMA-15M-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 42 Patch.svg ISS Expedition 43 Patch.svg

Samantha Cristoforetti (Italian pronunciation: [saˈmanta kristofoˈretti]; born 26 April 1977, in Milan) is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer. She holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours)[1][2][3], and until June 2017 held the record for the longest single space flight by a woman until this was broken by Peggy Whitson.[4][5][6][7] She is also the first Italian woman in space. Samantha Cristoforetti is also known as the first person who brewed an espresso in space.[8]

Early life[edit]

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 an AFS exchange program to the USA and attended Space Camp.[9]


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)[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

In ESA[edit]

Cristoforetti was officially selected as an astronaut in 2009 by the European Space Agency.

Samantha Cristoforetti attired in an EMU suit

Expedition 42/43[edit]

Samantha Cristoforetti in a special sleep bag that stops the person from drifting around in the micro-g environment of ISS.

On 3 July 2012, the European Space Agency announced that Cristoforetti was set for a long-duration mission to the ISS in 2014.[13]

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.[14] 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 June 5, 2017 by Peggy Whitson during Expedition 52.[15][16]

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.[17] Other outreach activities included learning how the Spirulina algae can be a source of food, while creating photosynthesis in a recycled air environment.[18]

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[19] of the Orbital Cygnus Orb-3 mission in October 2014,[20] 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."[21]

Cristoforetti in the ISS Cupola with a view of SpaceX CRS-6

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).[22] ISS Expedition Mission 42 blog has a special section called "don't panic".[23] 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.[8][23] [24] 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.[25] 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.[26]

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."[27] The Order of Merit is the senior order of knighthood, the highest ranking honour of the Republic.[28]

NEEMO 23[edit]

Cristoforetti commanded NEEMO mission 23 from June 10 to June 22, 2019.[29] This mission tested technologies and objectives for deep space mission and lunar explorations on the seafloor.

Personal life[edit]

Cristoforetti can speak Italian, English, German, French, and Russian, and she is currently studying Chinese.[30]

In November 2016, Cristoforetti gave birth to a girl (Kelsey Amal) in Cologne, Germany.[31] The child's father is Lionel Ferra. According to an Italian article, he is an astronaut instructor and he is French.[32]

Honors and decorations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spaceflight, Irene Klotz 2015-06-09T19:54:36Z Human. "Space Station Crew Returning to Earth After Delay". Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Joe; Sherden, Amy (July 8, 2015). "Record-breaking astronaut becomes internet sensation". ABC News. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  3. ^ "Astronaut Biography: Samantha Cristoforetti". Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  4. ^ "Astronaut Biography: Peggy Whitson". Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  5. ^ Dutch astronaut loses space record to Italy's Cristoforetti Archived June 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 24 June 2015.
  6. ^ "3 Space Station Astronauts Safely Return to Earth". The New York Times. June 11, 2015. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Samantha beats ESA astronaut single-duration record - Outpost 42". Outpost 42. Archived from the original on October 9, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "To boldly brew: Italian astronaut makes first espresso in space". the Guardian. Archived from the original on October 22, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  9. ^ "Space Camp Alumni Newsletter". Space and Rocket Center. Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  10. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti". A.S.I. - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  11. ^ "Space Camp Alumni Newsletter". Space and Rocket Center. Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti". ESA. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  13. ^ "ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti set for Space Station in 2014". ESA website. July 3, 2012. Archived from the original on July 6, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  14. ^ "Crew docks at International Space Station". USA Today. November 23, 2014. Archived from the original on October 19, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  15. ^ "Astronaut Biography: Peggy Whitson". Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "Astronaut Peggy Whitson Ends Record-Breaking Space Mission with Smooth Landing". Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "Mission X – Training like an Astronaut". Web Portal of the European Space Agency (ESA). European Space Agency (ESA). Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  18. ^ "Futura Mission". ESA website. October 7, 2015. Archived from the original on December 25, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2018. 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.
  19. ^ "AJ-26 Engine Turbopump likely Suspect in Antares Launch Failure". Spaceflight101 website. November 5, 2014. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  20. ^ "NASA'S RESPONSE TO ORBITAL'S OCTOBER 2014 LAUNCH FAILURE: IMPACTS ON COMMERCIAL RESUPPLY OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION" (PDF). September 17, 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  21. ^ "Cygnus Orb-3 Cargo Manifest". Spaceflight101 website. July 3, 2012. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  22. ^ "Sam Cristoforetti on Flicker, A Dragon is coming!#DontPanic". flicker. Archived from the original on February 7, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Don't panic | Outpost 42". Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  24. ^ "Sam Cristoforetti on Twitter". Twitter. Archived from the original on November 14, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  25. ^ "Sam Cristoforetti on Flickr, Of all the souls I have encountered.. his was the most human". flickr. Archived from the original on March 28, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  26. ^ "Samantha overtakes Sunita as holder of longest spaceflight for women". ESA. Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  27. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti becomes Cavaliere di Gran Croce". Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  28. ^ Sainty, Guy Stair World Orders of Knighthood and Merit (pp.1233-4) Buckingham: Burke's Peerage and Gentry, 2006
  29. ^ Emily Toomey (July 29, 2019). "NASA Scientists and Astronauts Practice for Space Missions on the Seafloor". Smithsonian magazine.
  30. ^ Samantha Cristoforetti – Futura Mission Archived December 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine (2014), European Space Agency,; accessed 24 June 2015.
  31. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti gives birth to Kelsey Amal". ANSA. January 3, 2017. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  32. ^ "Chi è Lionel Ferra? Il Fidanzato di Samantha Cristoforetti". Archived from the original on December 22, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  33. ^ a b "Cristoforetti Cap. Samantha decorated". The official website of the Presidency of the Italian Republic. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2016.

External links[edit]