Samantha Cristoforetti, a 45-year-old Italian astronaut, will soon become the commander of the International Space Station, the international research laboratory orbiting the Earth. She would be the first European woman ever to take on this role. On September 28, an official ceremony will be held to pass the title from her predecessor Oleg Artemyev. It will be broadcast live on ESA channels.
Cristoforetti, also known as AstroSamantha on social media, has in recent years become a much loved public figure in the country. Part of its success among the public is also due to its active presence on social media, sharing photos and videos intended to inform and engage the public, especially younger generations, in the station’s activities and in life in space. The mission she is currently participating in is her second aboard the International Space Station. The mission, called Minerva, is supposed to last 6 months, between April and October 2022. It is named after the Roman goddess of wisdom and protector of craftsmen, as a tribute to the people who made human-involved space explorations possible in the past decades.
In her new role as station commander, Cristoforetti will be responsible for the work of the crews that will work at the station, where many scientific experiments are conducted, taking advantage of zero gravity.
But who is AstroSamantha and how did she become the first European woman to command the International Space Station?
Cristoforetti was born in Milan in 1977, but grew up in a small Alpine village called Mali. After graduating from a science-focused high school, she studied mechanical engineering in Munich, Germany, and then joined the Italian Air Force Academy (Accademia Aeronautica) in the Naples region. Between 2005 and 2006 she obtained the qualification of a war pilot, and then was nominated as a commander of the Italian Air Force. She left this institution at the end of 2019. In her training as an astronaut, she said her military background in the Air Force was essential. She was selected by the European Space Agency in 2009, and five years later, she joined her first space mission.
When she performed her first mission, in 2014, Cristoforetti was the first Italian woman to travel into space, and the seventh Italian astronaut in the history of space exploration. In total, Cristoforetti’s first mission lasted 200 days between November 2014 and June 2015. In 2021, the European Space Agency, the organization where Cristoforetti works, announced that it would take part in a new mission this year. It left Earth again on April 27, 2022.
When in space, Cristoforetti curates their social media profiles on Twitter and TikTok, where she shares photos and video materials from the International Space Station. She shares different types of content, from explanations about how the space station works Features and his Physicsto what life looks like in space, from meals To your bedtime routine, from exercising to washing hair and taking pictures.
Moreover, there are many pictures you share of wonderful natural phenomena, from aurora borealis to the huge storms. It also pays special attention to the consequences of climate change on the landscapes you see. In general, by following them, one can get stunning views of the land and space in general. Samantha Cristoforetti has also written a book, Diary of a Junior Astronaut (2018).