Departure: Kazakhstan, Baikonour Cosmodrome November 23, 2014 (nightime)
Time in space: 200 days
Arrival: Kazakhstan, Baikonour Cosmodrome June 11, 2015 (daytime)
Engineer, Air Force Officer Samantha Cristoforetti, selected among 8.500 European candidates, joined Esa Astronaut Corps (European Space Agency) in 2009. The following two and a half years of demanding training prepared Cristoforetti for an ASI (Italian Space Agency) long duration mission named ‘Futura‘ to the International Space Station (ISS).
Team ready for launch: Roscosmos Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, Esa Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, and Nasa Astronaut Terry Virts.
Shkaplerov: “While we were sitting on top of the rocket and waiting to be fired up in the sky, I was trying not to fall asleep, because I knew how well trained we all were.”
Cristoforetti: “that night everything was perfect, I was serene, in the place where I was meant to be”.
Virts: “As a test pilot I flew different types of combat planes, faced dangerous situations but nothing scared me the most as the thought of cutting Samantha’s hair. So, I was trying to remember how to do it once we would get to the International Space Station”
In Orbit Aboard The ISS
How does it feel to float ‘in a tin can on top of the world’?
The International Space Station is the most advanced and sophisticated technological project ever imaginated and built by humankind. It represents an example of what cooperation among countries of different cultures can achieve when they set themselves for a common goal beneficial for all. Samantha Cristoforetti refers to it as a ‘Human Outpost In Space’.
The 15th anniversary of its operational success was celebrated in 2015: fifteen years in which highly trained and skilled men and women have continuously lived and worked, expanding it with new potential and technologies,
conducting scientific experiments on materials, human physiology, and biology.
Science: the ISS allows to conduct experiments in microgravity, to observe outcomes and behaviours that would not be seen or would not happen with the gravity of Earth.
Schools, universities, hospitals, entities in the public and private sectors at large, in the constant strive to implement and innovate, find in the ISS the ideal environment where investigations can be carried out.
Study of liquids and materials behavior, cells growth, studies on eyes, bone loss, plants, foods and medicines, implementation of devices and equipment, observation of our changing planet. All research carried out in the ISS is done to benefit life on Earth and to expland knowledge for future long duration space missions.
Cristoforetti lived and worked in the ISS on a six-month mission, later extended to a total of 200 days due to the loss of a re-supply space vehicle, which exploded on its way to the ISS: space is a dangerous place to go to, to be in and come back from. Yet the spirit of Samantha’s mission, ‘Futura’, is best described in the well known slogan: ‘Don’t Panic’.
During her mission Cristoforetti conducted more than 200 scientific experiments: part of human physiology experiments and tests are conducted on astronauts themeselves and results evaluated for beneficial use for us all and for future long duration space travels.
Among the tasks Samantha performed are the capture and release of re-supply space vehicles, assistance to crewmates during spacewalks (EVA), interviews for international medias, government representatives, schools, and ISS maintainance work.
An important aspect of a daily routine while on board is physical activity, to which several hours are dedicated to contain and prevent bone loss, among other things, and maintain general well being.
Each new mission departing to the International Space Station highlights a ‘theme’: Cristoforetti’s was healthy nutrition. In charge of her food program was an Italian company , based in Turin. Each of Cristoforetti’s meals were meticulously tested and created for best performance related to short and long term benefits on human physiology and general well being. All ingredients were chosen based on the ‘fare, just and sustainable agricolture’ phylosophy, and each meal cooked with technological advanced methods for long duration storage, while keeping the main focus on maintaining the beneficial nutrients of each ingredient.
Argotec is also the creator of the first space expresso machine delivered to the International Space Station in 2015, and Cristoforetti was the first astronaut in history of space travel to brew real expresso coffee in space: IssPresso.
With her online informative Logbook she kept the general public updated on the progress of her ongoing scientific experiments and life aboard the ISS.
Cristoforetti’s daily connection with the public via Facebook, Twitter and Flickr captured the interest of enthusiasts from all over the world, captivated by her ability on trasmitting universal and inspiring messages.
Samantha Cristoforetti returned to our planet on June 11, 2015 at completion of a successful mission.