The 10th Astronaut Anniversary of Samantha Cristoforetti

Ten years ago, on May 20, 2009, I watched the live stream of a press event the European Space Agency (ESA) held in Paris to introduce an international group of candidates selected to become the new European astronauts.

As the six members of the new group entered the room I instantly recognized my friend Samantha Cristoforetti, who was the first to take the floor for a short statement.


I had known Samantha since a couple of years earlier, before she applied to become an ESA astronaut. I had the opportunity of following her progress in the selection and, as the date of the ESA event approached, I noticed something was off. She had deleted her Facebook profile a few days earlier and kept radio silence. This was a hint she had a chance, which turned out to be true.

Samantha was launched into space for the first time on November 23, 2014 and spent almost exactly 200 days on the International Space Station.

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