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Italian Space Agency's Paolo Nespoli to be the next Italian astronaut on the ISS

The ESA astronaut will be leaving with Expedition 52/53, the third space mission after Esperia in 2007 and MagISStra in 2010

30 July 2015

In what will be the Italian Space Agency's third long-stay mission, Paolo Nespoli will be flying to the ISS for around five months, leaving in May 2017. It will also be the Italian ESA astronaut's third time in space.

Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency, commented that “It is with particular pleasure that I can announce that Paolo Nespoli has been assigned to the next long-stay mission, the third assigned to ASI under the agreement with NASA for the MPLM modules, to be held in 2017 as part of Expedition 52/53. With two missions already under his belt, Paolo is a space veteran and has been highly appreciated by NASA and ESA for the professionalism shown in his two previous missions. Paolo Nespoli is the only civilian astronaut of the four Italian astronauts currently in service at ESA's European corps. This new mission has confirmed Italy's ongoing role in the ISS, which will see the skills of all the Italian astronauts put to use in this and the next ESA long-stay mission, to be assigned to Italy between 2018 and 2019”.

During his stay on the International Space Station, Paolo Nespoli will be bringing a series of scientific experiments on board, according to a program that is still being drawn up, in continuity with ASI's scientific planning in the human space exploration sector. Following on from Volare with Luca Parmitano in 2013 and Futura with Samantha Cristoforetti this year, this mission was also assigned to ASI by NASA under the bilateral NASA/ASI Memorandum, which saw the Italian Space Agency providing the US space agency with three Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules (MPLM) and a Permanent Multi-Purpose Module (PMM) for the ISS.

Paolo Nespoli's first adventure in space was the Esperia mission in 2007, when the ESA astronaut reached the ISS on board the STS-120 space shuttle. During his two weeks on board, one of his main tasks was helping to install the Nodo-2 module on the space station. He returned to the ISS three years later for 160 days, as part of Expedition 26/27. In addition to the numerous experiments in the MagISStra mission, Paolo Nespoli was also involved in docking two cargo shuttles, one European and the other Japanese, the second ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) and the second HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle). Paolo Nespoli has already started training for his new adventure at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow, Russia.