Samantha Cristoforetti makes history: she is the first European to walk through space

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Samantha Cristoforetti broke the spacewalk barrier for ESA astronauts in space, performing the first this Thursday. The Italian, together with the Russian Oleg Artemyev, developed devices outside the International Space Station.

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut and Roscosmos cosmonaut, wearing Orlan spacesuits, they prepared the European robotic arm of the ISS for future work.

They installed hardware for the Russian Nauka laboratory module, in addition to deploying ten nanosatellites designed to collect radioelectronic data during the walk.

The ESA explains that the robotic arm “It brings to the orbital complex new ways of handling automated machines. It will be able to perform many tasks automatically or semi-automatically, it can be directed from inside or outside the Station and it can be controlled directly or programmed in advance”.

It is the third spacewalk to include tasks related to preparing the European robotic arm for its first operations on Nauka. Cristoforetti and Artemyev had as objectives move its external control panel, work on insulation, and install a temporary adapter point for the robotic arm.

The milestones of women in space, with Samantha Cristoforetti with an essential role

Cristoforetti starred in ESA’s inaugural spacewalk for a woman, but she is not the first European woman to do so. The Soviet Svetlana Savitskaya, in 1984, was the pioneer, belonging to the then Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Rosaviakosmos.

Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of the United States performed the first spacewalk composed exclusively of women, in 2019. While the Chinese Wang Yaping, in 2021, broke the barrier for the Chinese space agency CNSA.

Born in Milan on April 26, 1977, Cristoforetti graduated in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic University of Munich (2001), also studying at the National Higher School of Aeronautics and Space in Toulouse, France, and at the University of Chemical Technology Mendeleev, from Moscow, Russia.

He accumulated more than 500 flight hours in the Italian Air Force and, As the ESA explains in its curriculum summary, “His technical training, his ability to pilot high-tech machines, his facility with languages ​​and his enthusiasm for traveling They made her a perfect candidate to be an astronaut.”

Apart from his knowledge as an astronaut, Cristoforetti is quite the star of social networks: has more than 989 thousand followers on Twitter, where he recounts his space experience day by day, and more than 536 thousand fans on TikTok.



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