Samantha Cristoforetti is one of six individuals who will become Europe's new astronauts. The new astronauts were presented at a press conference held at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France, on 20 May 2009. The new recruits will join the European Astronaut Corps and start their training to prepare for future missions to the International Space Station, and beyond.
Samantha Cristoforetti was born in Milan, Italy, in 1977. She studied at the Technische Universität Munich, Germany, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in Toulouse, France, and the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technologies in Moscow, Russia. She holds a master’s degree in engineering, as well as a master’s degree in aeronautical sciences from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. Lt. Cristoforetti is a fighter pilot with the Italian Air Force. In her leisure time, she enjoys mountaineering, scuba diving and caving.