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ESA Human and Robotic Exploration
  1. Space physicians training course 2021

    ESA’s first online space physicians training course took place from 21–22 January 2021, attracting over 50 participants from across Europe and the world.

    • The full ExoMars 2022 mission comprising the carrier module, descent module, Kazachok surface platform and Rosalind Franklin rover have completed essential ‘spin tests’ in preparation for their journey to Mars
    • Rosalind Franklin’s rover twin on Earth has executed trial science activities for the first time, including drill sample collection and close-up imaging
    • A new parachute strategy has been adopted ahead of the next series of high altitude drop tests
  2. Video: 01:17:00

    Watch the replay of the briefing to media representatives to learn more about the next spaceflight of ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

    During the event, Samantha was joined by ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher,  ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration David Parker, and Italian space agency president Giorgio Saccoccia.

    Samantha is a member of ESA’s astronaut class of 2009. During her firsission ‘Futura’ in 2014t m–15, she spent 200 days in space, carrying out science and operations on the International Space Station as a flight engineer for Expeditions 42 and 43. She now looks forward to returning to the ISS, her “home away from home.”

  3. Image:

    Italian ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti poses in the Cupola module of the International Space Station with two 100-day patches to mark her 200th day in space. She is now set to return to her ‘home away from home’ for even more days in space. 

    Samantha first flew to the International Space Station on a Soyuz spacecraft in 2014 for a mission known as ‘Futura’. Her second flight follows the second missions of her fellow 2009 astronaut classmates Alexander Gerst in 2018, Luca Parmitano in 2019 and Thomas Pesquet in 2021. It could also see a direct on-Station handover with Matthias Maurer who is scheduled to fly his first mission to the Space Station later this year. The spacecraft Samantha will fly on is not yet confirmed, but could be a SpaceX Crew Dragon or Boeing CST-100 Starliner.

    During Futura, Samantha supported an extensive scientific programme of experiments in physical science, biology and human physiology as well as radiation research and technology demonstrations.

    She also oversaw the undocking of ESA’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). This marked the end of a successful programme that paved the way for the European Service Modules currently being produced for NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will travel around and to the Moon.

    Training for Samantha’s second mission is already underway and has included International Space Station refresher sessions at ESA’s astronaut centre in Cologne, Germany, and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

    In the coming months, her schedule will intensify as she brushes up on Space Station systems and procedures and trains for the specific experiments and tasks she will perform in space.

    More details of Samantha’s second mission will be announced during a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, 3 March, at 11:00 CET. Watch on ESA Web TV here

    ESA is also in the process of recruiting its next class of astronauts. For more on the upcoming selection visit esa.int/YourWayToSpace.  

  4. A new year is traditionally a time to reflect and make some space for new beginnings. As many people on Earth have been making resolutions to finally eat healthier, exercise more, or pick up a book instead of turning on the television, however, there is little time for rest and reflection aboard the International Space Station.