Samantha Cristoforetti

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),[1][2][3] and she held the record for the longest single space flight by a woman until this was broken by Peggy Whitson in June 2017,[4][5][6][7] and later by Christina Koch.[8] She is also the first Italian woman in space. She took command of ISS Expedition 68 on September 28 2022.[9][10]

Samantha Cristoforetti
Samantha Cristoforetti official portrait in an EMU spacesuit.jpg
Born (1977-04-26) 26 April 1977 (age 45)
Milan, Italy
Nationality Italy
Alma materTechnical University of Munich
University of Naples Federico II
Space career
Time in space
370 days, 5 hours, 45 minutes
Selection2009 ESA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
7 hours, 5 minutes
Mission insignia
ISS Expedition 42 Patch.svg ISS Expedition 43 Patch.svg SpaceX Crew 4 logo.pngISS Expedition 67 Patch.png

In December 2021, Politico Europe named her as one of the "dreamers" in its annual list of the 28 most influential people in Europe.[11]

Early lifeEdit

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.[12]


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)[13] 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.[14] 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.

In ESAEdit

Cristoforetti was officially selected as an astronaut in 2009 by the European Space Agency, from a population of 8000 applicants.[15]

Samantha Cristoforetti attired in an EMU suit

Expedition 42/43Edit

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.[16]

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.[17] 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[4][18] and on 28 December 2019 by Christina Koch during Expedition 60.[19]

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.[20] Other outreach activities included learning how the Spirulina algae can be a source of food, while creating photosynthesis in a recycled air environment.[21]

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[22] of the Orbital Cygnus Orb-3 mission in October 2014,[23] 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."[24]

Samantha Cristoforetti demonstrating first in space operation of the rHEALTH ONE universal biomedical analyzer as part of Expedition 67.
Cristoforetti in Star Trek uniform 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).[25] ISS Expedition Mission 42 blog has a special section called "don't panic".[26] 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[27] 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).[28][26][29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

Amateur radio woman,[32] participated in the ARISS initiative, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station,[33] establishing numerous contacts with schools, both in 2015 and in 2022, answering students' questions.

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."[34] The Order of Merit is the highest ranking honour of the Republic.[35]

Expedition 67/68Edit

Cristoforetti looking out of the window of Freedom during flight to the ISS

Cristoforetti was assigned to fly to the International Space Station a second time in spring 2022.[36] She is flying on the fourth mission of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX Crew-4 on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.[37] The mission launched on April 27, 2022, before docking later that day.[38] 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.[39] On May 13, 2022, she became the first astronaut to operate the rHEALTH ONE, space's most powerful biomedical analyzer to date.[40] She demonstrated loading of tiny drops of biological samples into the device and collection of over 100 million raw data points over several minutes with laser-based sheath-flow analysis. Her successful operation paves the way for big data in space for understanding and treating spaceflight medical conditions including circadian rhythm disturbances, bone loss, ionizing radiation exposure, kidney stones, among other conditions.

On 21 July 2022, Cristoforetti completed her first spacewalk, which lasted 7 hours and 5 minutes. Along with Oleg Artemyev, the joint ESA-Roscosmos spacewalk was the third spacewalk to set up the European Robotic Arm. Cristoforetti was the first non-Russian to use the Orlan spacesuit since Michael Barratt in June of 2009, and the first European astronaut to do so since Jean-Pierre Haigneré on April 16, 1999.[41]

She took command of ISS Expedition 68 on September 28 2022.[10]

NEEMO 23Edit

Cristoforetti commanded NEEMO mission 23 from 10 to 22 June 2019.[42] This mission tested technologies and objectives for deep space mission and lunar explorations on the seafloor.

Personal lifeEdit

Cristoforetti can speak Italian, English, German, French, Russian, and Chinese.[43][44]

Cristoforetti is married to a French engineer, Lionel Ferra.[45] In November 2016, she gave birth to a girl in Cologne, Germany.[46] In 2021, she gave birth to a boy.[47]

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.[48]


  • Cristoforetti, Samantha (2020) Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut Allen Lane, Great Britain (English translation from the Italian by Jill Foulston) ISBN 978-0-2413-7138-1

Honours and decorationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Spaceflight, Irene Klotz 2015-06-09T19:54:36Z Human (9 June 2015). "Space Station Crew Returning to Earth After Delay". Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Joe; Sherden, Amy (8 July 2015). "Record-breaking astronaut becomes internet sensation". ABC News. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Astronaut Biography: Samantha Cristoforetti". Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Astronaut Biography: Peggy Whitson". Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  5. ^ Dutch astronaut loses space record to Italy's Cristoforetti Archived 7 January 2016 at,; accessed 24 June 2015.
  6. ^ "3 Space Station Astronauts Safely Return to Earth". The New York Times. 11 June 2015. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Samantha beats ESA astronaut single-duration record - Outpost 42". Outpost 42. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Christina Koch Completes 328-Day Mission in Space – Space Station". Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  9. ^ ESA biography
  10. ^ a b ESA [@esa] (28 May 2021). "ESA astronaut @AstroSamantha Cristoforetti is named to serve as @Space_Station commander on Expedition 68, following an in-principle agreement by international partners on 19 May. As part of #Crew4, Samantha will fly on a @SpaceX #CrewDragon in 2022 👉" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 14 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti". Politico. 8 December 2021. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  12. ^ "Space Camp Alumni Newsletter". Space and Rocket Center. Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti". A.S.I. - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Space Camp Alumni Newsletter". Space and Rocket Center. Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti". ESA website. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  16. ^ "ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti set for Space Station in 2014". ESA website. 3 July 2012. Archived from the original on 6 July 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Crew docks at International Space Station". USA Today. 23 November 2014. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Astronaut Peggy Whitson Ends Record-Breaking Space Mission with Smooth Landing". Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  19. ^ Smith, Yvette (27 December 2019). "Astronaut Christina Koch Poised to Make History Again". NASA. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Mission X – Training like an Astronaut". Web Portal of the European Space Agency (ESA). European Space Agency (ESA). Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Futura Mission". ESA website. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 25 December 2015. Retrieved 2 April 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.
  22. ^ "AJ-26 Engine Turbopump likely Suspect in Antares Launch Failure". Spaceflight101 website. 5 November 2014. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  23. ^ "NASA'S RESPONSE TO ORBITAL'S OCTOBER 2014 LAUNCH FAILURE: IMPACTS ON COMMERCIAL RESUPPLY OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION" (PDF). 17 September 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Cygnus Orb-3 Cargo Manifest". Spaceflight101 website. 3 July 2012. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Sam Cristoforetti on Flicker, A Dragon is coming!#DontPanic". flicker. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Don't panic | Outpost 42". Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  27. ^ "Espresso Coffee Conquers Space" (PDF). 3 May 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  28. ^ "To boldly brew: Italian astronaut makes first espresso in space". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 October 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  29. ^ Cristoforetti, Samantha [@AstroSamantha] (17 April 2015). ""There's coffee in that nebula"... ehm, I mean... in that #Dragon." (Tweet). Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 14 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ "Sam Cristoforetti on Flickr, Of all the souls I have encountered.. his was the most human". flickr. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  31. ^ "Samantha overtakes Sunita as holder of longest spaceflight for women". ESA. Archived from the original on 10 August 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  32. ^ "IZ0UDF". Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  33. ^ "IR0ISS". Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  34. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti becomes Cavaliere di Gran Croce". Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  35. ^ Sainty, Guy Stair World Orders of Knighthood and Merit (pp.1233-4) Buckingham: Burke's Peerage and Gentry, 2006
  36. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti will fly to the International Space Station in 2022" (Press release). ESA. 3 March 2021.
  37. ^ Second spaceflight for Samantha Cristoforetti, Media Event. ESA. 4 March 2021. Event occurs at 28:47. Archived from the original on 20 December 2021.
  38. ^ Jackie Wattles. "SpaceX mission arrives at ISS with first Black woman to join space station crew". CNN. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  39. ^ Swan, Ashleigh; Gerken, Tom (12 June 2022). "Samantha Cristoforetti: The astronaut taking TikTok to new heights". BBC. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  41. ^ Clark, Stephen (21 July 2022). "Russian cosmonaut, European astronaut complete joint spacewalk – Spaceflight Now". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  42. ^ Emily Toomey (29 July 2019). "NASA Scientists and Astronauts Practice for Space Missions on the Seafloor". Smithsonian magazine.
  43. ^ Samantha Cristoforetti – Futura Mission Archived 21 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine (2014), European Space Agency,; accessed 24 June 2015.
  44. ^ "Why Europe's astronauts are learning Chinese". 28 June 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  45. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti, vita privata: chi è il marito Lionel Ferra e quanti figli hanno" [Samantha Cristoforetti, private life: who is her husband Lionel Ferra and how many children they have]. Il Giorno (in Italian). 27 April 2022. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  46. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti gives birth to Kelsey Amal". ANSA. 3 January 2017. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  47. ^ "Samantha Cristoforetti, i figli e il marito Lionel Ferra" [Samantha Cristoforetti, children and husband Lionel Ferra]. Radio Deejay (in Italian). 27 April 2022. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  48. ^ eurofestival (13 May 2022). "Eurovision 2022: nella finale collegamento con Samantha Cristoforetti" (in Italian). Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  49. ^ a b "Cristoforetti Cap. Samantha decorated". The official website of the Presidency of the Italian Republic. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.

External linksEdit