Cristoforetti is the first Italian female, in history of space flight, to have become an astronaut, and to have traveled to, worked and lived in space.
She holds the World Record, 200 days for the longest uninterrupted mission in space by a female astronaut, and the European Record holder for the longest mission in space by any Esa astronaut.
On November 2014, when Cristoforetti entered the International Space Station she became the 59th woman to fly in space.
In 2009 Cristoforetti was the only female in a team of six to be selected as an ESA Astronaut, European Space Agency, among 8,500 candidates. In 2012 Esa astronaut Cristoforetti was assigned to an ASI (Italian Space Agency) long duration mission on board the International Space Station (ISS) for which she trained in three continents: America, Europe, and Asia.
Her mission named ‘Futura’ was part of the Expedition 42/43 which launched on board of a Soyuz spacecraft on November 23, 2014 from
in Kazakhstan .
On board of the Soyuz TMA-15M a three-member-crew, Roscosmos Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, Esa Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, and Nasa Astronaut Terry Virts reached the International Space Station about six hours later, after four orbits around the Earth.
The International Space Station is a highly technological advanced space laboratory orbiting the Earth at 17500 mph/28000 Kmh. In 2015 its 15th birthday was celebrated by all international Space Agencies collaborating in the project since its inception. The ISS is inhabited throughout the year by six astronauts, and crews of three rotate during the year.
Missions to the ISS are planned to carry out science and technology research in microgravity: some experiments are ongoing researches handled by rotating crews, others are carried out by astronauts specifically trained for the purpose of the experiments, and Samantha was involved in about 200 of them.
A lot of the science carried out on board of the station involve experiments related to: monitoring magnetic fields, radiation, genetics, growing food, fluids, biology, keeping worms and insects, the 'Fruit Flies' experiment and watch their development over more than one generation in space and researching.
Other experiments to improve Wireless Sensing Technology ,fitness, health, nutrition, recycling in microgravity. Samantha herself was a guinny pig for several experiments conducted on board the ISS: the Circadian Rhythms Monitoring consists on a wrist watch experiment which checked Samantha's body clock, temperature and changes in the hormone melatonin that regulates sleep patterns. 'Blind and Imagined', registeres how the brain adjusts to microvity, 'Drain Brain' researches how blood flow from the brain to the heart, and viceversa, responds in microgravity. Hundreds of expirements are conducted in space to research and improve life on Earth, and allow explorations to Mars, the Moon and beyond.
Expedition 42/43 received and released five spacecrafts cargo carrying supplies to the ISS: food, materials, and experiments. Cristoforetti had the priviledge to release for its last journey the European ATV 'Georges Lemaître', an automated spacecraft which served the ISS for several missions. For such operations Cristoforetti has extensively trained to operate the Canadarm, a robotic aid which allows the docking and releasing of spacecrafts, provides assistance to astronauts during EVAs (space walks), and is essential for the repositioning of the station modules.
One of the main goals of the mission, besides a partial re-arrangement of the ISS internal volumes, and general maintenance, has been re-cabling and relocating external modules to prepare the ISS for the installation of international docking adapters which will enable future commercial crew vehicles to dock the station.
The International Space Station is a unique outpost in space to view the Earth from, and many astronauts share images and views from the Cupola via social networks during their free time. The crew members of Expedition 42/43 shot the highest number of images and videos than any previous mission, and Cristoforetti's had the pleasure to have some of her images featured in science magazines.
Roscosmos Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, Esa Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, and Nasa Astronaut Terry Virts were scheduled to depart the space station and return to Earth on May 12, 2015 after spending 170 days in orbit. The loss of a Russian cargo spacecraft postponed the launch and extended the expedition's stay on orbit awarding Cristoforetti with two records. On June 11,2015 Cristoforetti and crewmates returned to our planet, landing on the Kazakh steppe.