Who's this story about?Samantha Cristoforetti is an European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut of Italian nationality. She will become the first Italian woman to fly into space.
Before joining ESA she was a fighter pilot in the Italian Air Force.
- Who tells the story?I'm Paolo Amoroso, an Italian astronomy, space and science educator. And a space enthusiast.I could only read about how astronauts train and go to space. Until now. I guess sooner or later Samantha will have to face my eventual question: what is space really like?
- In spring 2008 ESA announced it was going to recruit a new group of astronauts. Samantha applied, together with over 8,400 candidates, about 1,400 of whom women, from 17 countries. She had been dreaming of becoming an astronaut since she was a child.
- On May 20, 2009, at its Paris headquarters, ESA announced and introduced to the media the 6 individuals selected to become the next generation of European astronauts. Samantha was among them.
- Samantha addressed the audience gathered at the May 20, 2009 announcement event in Paris.
- I also announced the good news, telling how I had come to know Samantha a few years earlier and followed her ESA selection process.
- In early september 2009, Samantha and her colleagues reported to the ESA European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, for basic training as AsCans, i.e. Astronaut Candidates.
- At an early September 2009 public outreach event in Cologne she first publicly wore the ESA astronaut blue uniform.
- The selection of Samantha as a new astronaut generated excitement and interest not just in her home country, Italy. German girl Laurel010203, for example, created a musical video featuring Samantha.
- During basic training AsCans go back to school for learning about medicine, electronics, robotics, rocket science and many other topics they will need for their activities in space.