The ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will soon become the commander of the International Space Station, replacing her Russian colleague from the Expedition 67 crew, Oleg Artemyev. With this appointment, announced by the ASI, Samantha Cristoforetti will become the first Italian and European female astronaut in command of the International Space Station.
«I’m honored of my appointment as commander - says AstroSamantha - and I can’t wait to draw on the experience I have gained in space and on Earth to lead a very capable team into orbit».
«Samantha’s choice as commander clearly shows the trust and value our international partners place in ESA astronauts» adds the General Director of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher.
«Congratulations to Samantha – says the President of the Italian Space Agency, Giorgio Saccoccia -. Her appointment is a source of particular pride for Italy and Europe. As the first European woman to hold the position of commander of the Italian Space Station, Samantha will be once more a source of inspiration for younger generations. A task of such value, which is assigned for the second time to an Italian astronaut, confirms the role and importance of Italy in the field of Space exploration and international space activities. Good luck Samantha, from the Italian Space Agency as a whole and from your fellow citizens! »
Minerva, Samantha Cristoforetti’s second mission on the Iss after the ASI Futura mission in 2014, started on April 27th, 2022, with the liftoff of the Crew-4 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. From that moment on, AstroSamantha has been participating in an intense scientific activity and working on several experiments, such as 6 Italian Space Agency experiments in different fields: health, neuroscience, radiations and feeding.
Since the start of the Minerva mission, Samantha has been in charge of the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), monitoring the activity in the U.S., European, Japanese and Canadian modules and components of the Station.
Last July 21st, Cristoforetti also completed her first spacewalk, becoming the first European female astronaut to perform an extravehicular activity. This record will be soon accompanied by the command of the space house, a role that will start on September 28th.