Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian astronaut, officially became the first European woman to be the Commander of the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday in the afternoon.
In 2009 she was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to become Italy’s first female astronaut. She will fulfil the role of Commander of the ISS from Wednesday, a large spacecraft which serves as a laboratory where astronauts live as well as work that is currently in orbit around the Earth making her the first European woman to take on this position.
Moreover, Cristoforetti mentioned in the statement, following the announcement of her position, “I am humbled by my appointment to the position of commander and look forward to drawing on the experience I’ve gained in space and on Earth to lead a competent team in orbit.”
She officially became Commander on Wednesday, September 28, following a traditional handover ceremony that centres around the symbolic passing of a key from the last Commander.
The 45-year-old, Samantha Cristoforetti took over the role from fellow Expedition 67 crew member Oleg Artemyev, becoming the fifth European ISS commander, following in the footsteps of last ESA astronauts Frank De Winne, Alexander Gerst, Luca Parmitano as well as Thomas Pesquet.
ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, David Parker, noted, “Samantha’s wealth of knowledge as well as experience makes her a good candidate for this job. As the first European female to fulfil the position of Commander, she once again pushes forward boundaries for female representation in the space sector.”
Besides this, from being internationally recognised for her achievements as an astronomer, Samantha Cristoforetti is also well-known for her TikTok account, on which she posts videos ranging from her carrying out various tasks in space to practising yoga in weightlessness.