Samantha Cristoforetti was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009. She joined ESA in September 2009 and successfully completed the Astronaut Basic Training in November 2010.
She is currently assigned to a training program covering the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, the systems of the International Space Station, robotics and extravehicular activities.
When not in training in the US, Russia, Canada or Japan, Cristoforetti is based at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. She enjoys interacting with space enthusiasts on Twitter as @AstroSamantha.
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.