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Italian astronauts: Paolo Nespoli


Personal Information
Born in Milan on 6th April 1957 in Milan, Italy. His hometown in Verano Brianza, Milan, Italy. He enjoys scuba diving, piloting aircraft, assembly of computer hardwerw, electronic equipment and computer softwerw.
Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1988 and Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1989 at the Polytechnic University of New York (USA). The University of Florence awarded him a Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1990.

Qualifications and Patents
Civil qualifications:
qualified as professional engineer, provided with Private Pilot Licence with specialization in instrument flight, advanced diving patent, qualified for Nitrox diving.
Military qualifications:
Parachutist, Paratroops Training Officer, launch manager, qualified for Free Fall, qualified for high altitude launch, Raider.

"Team achievement" acknowledgements for: Mir 97 space mission (Germany Space Agency), EUROMIR 95 space mission (ESA), NASA-Mir programme (NASA), EUROMIR 94 space mission (ESA), Bed Rest Experiment (ESA - France Space Agency), Columbus Utilisation Simulation (ESA).

Work history
Joined the Italian Army in 1977 as Paratroops Training non-commissioned Officer with PISA Parachuting Military School. In 1980 he moves to Livorno Col Moschin 9° Battalion where he qualifies as Raider.


From 1982 to 1984 he is sent to Beirut, Lebanon, with the Italian Contingent of Peace Multinational Forces. Once back to Italy, he becomes an officer with the Command of Raider Battallion.


In 1985 he starts studying at the University again and after obtaining the Bachelor degree and a Master of Science in the United States he leaves the Army and starts working as a Design Engineer for Proel Tecnologie in Florence, where he carries out mechanical analyses and acceptance tests of flight units, components and instruments for scientific satellites.


In 1991 he is hired by Centro Astronauti of the European Space Agency in Cologne, Germany where he is charged with the basic training and warm up activities of European astronauts. He is also in charge with the creation of the Astronaut Training Database, a computerized system for planning and manging astronaut training.


In 1995 he is assigned to the ESTEC center of ESA in Noordwijk, Netherlands, where, within the EUROMIR project he is responsible for the team setting, integrating and running the computers used on board the Mir Russian Space Station for the control of experiments and the support of the crew.


In 1996 he is assigned to the Nasa Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, where he becomes a member of the Spaceflight Training Division where he trains land and flight personnel of the International Space Station.
In July 1998 he is selected as an astronaut by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana and then assigned to the European


In August 1998 he is assigned to the Johnson Space Center of Houston in Texas, where he is listed in the NASA 17th astronaut class. In 2000, he obtains the qualification of Onboard Engineer for the Space Shuttle and Operator of the International Space Station. In 2001 he obtains the qualification as operator of the mechanical arm of the Space Shuttle and, in 2003, he successfully completes the advanced course for extravehicular activity.


In August 2004 he is temporarily assigned to the Gagarin Space Training Centre in Russia, where he starts training as course engineer for the Russian Soyuz Space Shuttle. He then comes back to Houston where he updates and enlarges the skills acquired by participating advanced training courses. He also performs technical tasks on behalf of the NASA astronaut department, as well as of the European Space Agency and the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana.

Spaceflight experience
From 23 October to 7 November 2007, Paolo Nespoli flew as Mission Specialist on board Space Shuttle Discovery for the STS-120 flight to the International Space Station. This mission delivered and installed the Node 2, a major building block essential for further expansion of the ISS, including the addition of the European Columbus laboratory. Another important task was the relocation of one of the four solar arrays that provide power to the Station. Nespoli played a key role as the intravehicular activity astronaut (or IVA) for the mission’s spacewalks, including the installation of Node 2. During his mission, named Esperia, Nespoli also performed a number of European experiments for the European scientific community in the area of human physiology and biology. Nespoli also took part in educational activities.


Current assignment

In November 2008, Paolo Nespoli has been assigned to Expedition 26/27, a long duration mission to the International Space Station that is planned to take place from November 2010 to May 2011. He recently started his ISS training in Russia and in the US.