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N° 4–2019: Call for media: News conference with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano

30 April 2019

Media are invited to join ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano on Saturday, 11 May, at ESRIN, ESA’s establishment  in Frascati near Rome, Italy, for his final news conference in Europe before his second mission to the International Space Station.

Luca chose the name ‘Beyond’ to signify the importance of the Space Station programme in broadening our knowledge of the Universe and enabling us to explore even farther from our planet through science and technology. It follows on from his first mission ‘Volare’ in 2013 and, throughout his next six months in orbit, he will facilitate pioneering research that will benefit future missions as well as life on Earth.

Luca is expected to be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday 20 July. This date coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing and Luca will share the journey in the Soyuz MS-13 (59S) spacecraft with US astronaut Andrew Morgan and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.

During the second part of his mission, Expedition 61, Luca will fulfil the role of Space Station Expedition Commander, becoming the first Italian to do so. It is the third time a European astronaut has been appointed to this leading position – following ESA astronauts Frank de Winne in 2009 and Alexander Gerst during his Horizons mission in 2018.

Luca is now in the final stages of intensive mission training in which he is working to familiarise himself with the wide array of scientific activities, operations and technology demonstrations to be performed on board. These include remotely operating a rover in Lanzarote, Spain, as part of the Analog-1 experiment to prepare for future exploratory missions to the Moon and Mars, helping researchers better understand how microbes might be affected by microgravity in Biorack, and testing the performance of ESA’s Life Support Rack – a facility designed to recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen for astronauts.

Doors will open at 09:45 CEST. The news conference will begin at 10:30 CEST.

Journalists attending this news conference will have the opportunity to learn more about the highlights of the Beyond mission, hear from science experts and ask Luca questions.

Programme times:

This event will be presented in Italian and English.

10:30   Welcome by Josef Aschbacher, Head of ESA ESRIN

Presentation by Jan Wörner, ESA Director General; David Parker, ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration; Giorgio Saccoccia, ASI President

Presentation on International Space Station science by Kirsten MacDonell, ESA Utilisation Planning Team Leader

11:10   Moderated conversation with Luca Parmitano on science and mission highlights

11:20   Q&A session

12:20   Media opportunity for shared interviews (please request in advance) via

14:15 End

The event will be held at:

ESA/ESRIN Largo Galileo Galilei 1, 00044 Frascati (Roma), Italy

A shuttle service connecting Rome (piazza Esedra) to ESA/ESRIN, before and after the event will be organised.

Media accreditation

Media representatives with press or social media credentials please register specifying if they would like to use the shuttle service at: 

Social media participants should check here that they meet the eligibility criteria before applying. Note that there is no dedicated social media event; those attending with social media accreditation will have the same access to the event as traditional/online news media.

Latest date for registration is 8 May.

Follow online

Social media:
For live updates throughout the event, follow @esaspaceflight, @esa and @ESA_Italia on Twitter, as well as,, and

You can also follow Luca on his social media channels which can be found at The official hashtag is #MissionBeyond

Images and animations
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ESA on Flickr:

For background information and the latest news, see:

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications.


For further information, please contact:

ESA Newsroom and Media Relations

Tel. +3906941801