Samantha Cristoforetti photograph

Samantha Cristoforetti

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Gender Female
Age 45
Date of birth April 26,1977
Zodiac sign Taurus
Born Milan
Space missionsExpedition 43, Expedition 42, Soyuz TMA-15M
ParentsSergio Cristoforetti
Antonella Cristoforetti
ChildrenKelsey Amal Ferra
Kelsi Amel Ferra Cristoforetti
Dorian Lev Ferra Cristoforetti
Job Astronaut
Education University of Naples Federico II
Technische Universität München
Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace
Space missionsSpaceX Crew-4, Expedition 42, Soyuz TMA-15M, Expedition 43
Current partner Lionel Ferra
BooksDiary of an Apprentice Astronaut
A Beautiful Planet
No Gravity
Date of Reg.
Date of Upd.
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Samantha Cristoforetti Life story

Samantha Cristoforetti, OMRI is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut, former Italian Air Force pilot and engineer.

Samantha Cristoforetti, OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [saˈmanta kristofoˈretti]; born in Milan on 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.In December 2021, Politico Europe named her as one of the "dreamers" in its annual list of the 28 most influential people in Europe.

Early life

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 US 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.


Cristoforetti was officially selected as an astronaut in 2009 by the European Space Agency, from a population of 8000 applicants.

Expedition 42/43

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

Expedition 67

Cristoforetti was assigned to fly to the International Space Station a second time in spring 2022. She is flying on the fourth mission of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX Crew-4 on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The mission launched on April 27, 2022, before docking later that day. Cristoforetti's second mission to the ISS is called Minerva. She was the first person to make a TikTok video on board the International Space Station and some of her onboard videos has been viewed millions of times.


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

Personal life

Cristoforetti can speak Italian, English, German, French, and Russian, and she has learned Chinese.In November 2016, Cristoforetti gave birth to a girl in Cologne, Germany. According to an Italian article, the child's father is an astronaut instructor and he is French.Cristoforetti appeared in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, which was held in Turin, in a pre-recorded message from the International Space Station.


Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut - by Samantha Cristoforetti - 2020 - ISBN 978-0-2413-7138-1

Honours and decorations

Italy Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on 6 March 2013

Italy Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on 16 July 2015

See also

Women in space

Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, ASI)

A Beautiful Planet - 2016 IMAX documentary film showing scenes of Earth which features Cristoforetti and other ISS astronauts.


External links

Spacefacts biography of Samantha Cristoforetti

June 12 2015 Interview after Landing

ESA Samantha Cristoforetti website

Samantha Cristoforetti Photos

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