Quiet please, future International Space Station commander in training. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti prepares for her upcoming mission to the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas, USA.
Samantha is a member of Crew-4 and will launch with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines to the Station from Florida, USA, on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in 2022.
This will be Samantha’s second mission in space after Futura in 2015 and she is expected to serve as Space Station commander for Expedition 68a, a first for her. Her experience will stand her in good stead as Europe’s first female in command of an International Space Station expedition.
Samantha said “I am humbled by my appointment to the position of commander and look forward to drawing on the experience I’ve gained in space and on Earth to lead a very capable team in orbit.”
She will be ESA’s fifth International Space Station commander and the fourth from ESA’s astronaut class of 2009.
Her nomination comes at a significant moment for European nationals of all genders, as ESA issues a rare call for new astronauts. The deadline for applications to ESA’s astronaut selection has just been extended to 18 June 2021, to accommodate the addition of Lithuania as an ESA Associate Member. For more information about ESA’s astronaut selection visit esa.int/yourwaytospace.
In the meantime, Samantha will continue training with all International Space Station partners in a programme that includes Space Station refreshers, science briefings, and Crew-4 launch preparation.
Watch a replay of a recent chat between Samantha and ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, David Parker, in which the pair answer some questions concerning her upcoming mission.