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Born in Milan, Italy, on 26 April 1977 Samantha Cristoforetti is an avid reader with a passion for science and technology, and an equal interest in humanities. She enjoys learning foreign languages and her current challenge is Chinese. Occasionally she finds the time to hike, scuba dive or practice yoga.
Samantha completed her secondary education in Liso Scientifico, Trono, Italy in 1996 after spending a year as an exchange student in the United States.
In 2001, he received a bachelor’s degree in technical engineering from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, with a degree in aerospace propulsion and a lightweight structure specialist. He wrote his undergraduate thesis on solid rocket propellers during a 10-month study at the Mendeleev University of Mendeleev Chemical Technologies in Moscow, Russia.
As part of her training at the Italian Air Force Academy, Samantha earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science from Naples Federico II, Italy, in 2005.
In 2001, Samantha joined the Italian Air Force. He enrolled at the Air Force Academy as an officer candidate and served as a class leader for four years. After graduating in 2005, he attended Euro-NATO Joint Pilot Training at Shepard Air Force Base in the United States, where he acquired his Fighter Pilot Wings in 2006. On his return to Italy, he was an X-Ground Attack fighter in the 1st bomb wing of AM-Istana.
Samantha was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009. He joined ESA in September 2009 and completed his initial astronaut training in November 2010. He was then assigned to the ESA Reserve as an astronaut, which allowed him to earn a basic qualification in EVA and has certificates as a flight engineer for robotics, as well as the Russian spacecraft Soyuz. In March 2012, he was assigned to the International Space Station as a flight engineer on the Soyuz TMA-15M as part of the crew of Expedition 42/33.
On November 23, 2014, Samantha was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He returned to Earth on June 11, 2015 after spending 200 days in space. The mission, which was given the name Futura, was the second long-range aircraft opportunity for the Italian space agency, the eighth for an ESA astronaut.
After completing post-flight work, Samantha was given technical and management responsibilities at the European Astronaut Center, which provided services to the Technical Evaluation Board for search-related projects. Samantha apart that she can speak five different languages. She’s completely fluent in Italian, English, German, French and Russian.
For several years he led the spaceship EAC initiative, a student-centered team working on the technical challenges of future missions to the moon. He then served for two years as a crew representative for ESA in the Gateway Project, emphasizing the crew system and accommodation aspects for the ESA-supplied i-Hub module.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will return to Earth on 11 June, along with NASA astronaut Terry Virts and Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov, having spent 200 days in space on the International Space Station.
Samantha was also part of a working group tasked with defining and implementing cooperation in the field of astronaut activities, working with Chinese collaborators. In 2017, together with fellow ESA astronaut Matthias Murar, he took part in a sea survival exercise organized by China’s Astronaut Center in the Yellow Sea. This was the first joint training of Chinese and Chinese-non-Chinese astronauts in China.
In 2019, Samantha served as Commander-in-Chief of NASA’s 23rd Extreme Environmental Mission Operations (NEEMO23) for a 10-day stay at Aquarius, the world’s only bottom research center.