Samantha Cristoforetti joined the ESA astronaut corps during the last recruitment drive, which took place in 2008-2009
Cristoforetti will travel to the Station in 2022 with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket.
The astronaut of the European Space Agency (THAT) Samantha Cristoforetti will become the first woman commander of the ISS (the acronym in English for the International Space Station).
As reported by the ESA, Cristoforetti “predictably” will assume command of the International Space Station during Expedition 68th, by virtue of an agreement of principle adopted by the international partners on May 19, pending the consolidation of the operational plans and launch dates.
In this sense, he explained that, as a member of crew 4, Samantha Cristoforetti will travel to the Station in 2022 with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines from Florida (United States) aboard a rocket SpaceX Crew Dragon. This will be her second space mission and the experience provided will be very valuable, as she is the first female commander of the ISS.
“To return to the International Space Station to present Europe is already an honor in itself“Cristoforetti declared, and later added:” I greatly appreciate my appointment as commander and I hope draw on the experience gained in space and on the ground to lead a highly capable team in orbit“.
For his part, the director general of the ESA, Josef Aschbacher, has assured that the appointment of Cristoforetti as commander of the ISS “serves as inspiration to an entire generation that is currently bidding to join the ESA Astronaut Corps. “” I am looking forward to meeting those chosen and I take this opportunity to encourage women again to come forward, “he stressed.
Thus, ESA has indicated that Cristoforetti will be the fifth person from ESA to command the International Space Station and the fourth from the 2009 astronaut class.
Likewise, it has indicated that the Multilateral Crew Operations Panel (MCOP) He is in charge of making decisions about the crew and the role that each astronaut will have on the Station. This panel includes representatives from the five international partners: the US space agency NASA, the Russian Roscosmos, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
ESA astronaut Frank De Winne was the first European commander of the International Space Station. He currently represents the Agency at the MCOP as director of ESA’s European Astronaut Center and has stated that Cristoforetti’s appointment shows how highly international partners value ESA astronauts.
According to Frank De Winne, “although overall control of the Station is in the hands of the flight directors on the ground, the ISS commander works to promote team spirit among astronauts and among personnel on the ground and in orbit, ensuring that all members carry out their tasks in the best possible way. ”
“Samantha has proven to be a highly reliable and competent leadere during NASA’s NEEMO23 mission, among other activities. Her experience and attitude make her an important asset to ESA and our partners, and I know she will be a source of pride for us during her time in space, “stressed Frank De Winne.
A model for new hires
The THAT has highlighted that the appointment of Samantha Cristoforetti “It comes at a significant moment for the citizens of Europe”, as ESA has recently launched a program of recruitment of new astronauts. The deadline for submitting applications to the selection process has just been extended to June 18, 2021 in response to the incorporation of Lithuania as an associate member of the Agency.
Samantha Cristoforetti joined the ESA astronaut corps during the latest recruitment drive, which took place in 2008-2009. David Parker, Director of Human and Robotics Exploration for the Agency, has acknowledged that his career is an example of the opportunities that open up to new candidates. “Samantha joined us just over a decade ago thanks to her high abilities. She is now a veteran astronaut about to take over a command post,” he said.
“I’m eDelighted to see that Samantha’s skills, experience and efforts have paid off with her appointment as Commander of the International Space Station. I have no doubt that it will continue to inspire us to take on challenges, maximize our capabilities and advance our knowledge, both in space and on Earth, “he concluded.