ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli will be heading for space a third time, as part of Expeditions 52 and 53 to the International Space Station. He will be launched on a Soyuz vehicle in May 2017 on a five-month mission.
The new mission is part of a barter agreement between NASA and Italy's ASI space agency involving ESA astronauts. It will be ASI's third long-duration flight, following Luca Parmitano's Volare in 2013 and Samantha Cristoforetti's Futura this year.
Paolo's first spaceflight was his two-week Esperia mission on the Space Shuttle's STS-120 in 2007, ASI's second short-duration flight under the barter agreement. One of his main tasks was to help install the Node-2 module on the Space Station.
He returned to the Station in 2010 for ESA's 160-day MagISStra mission as part of Expeditions 26 and 27. In addition to his many experiments, he was involved in the dockings of two cargo craft: Europe's second Automated Transfer Vehicle and Japan's second HII Transfer Vehicle.
Following his second flight, Paolo worked at ESA's ESRIN centre in Italy and at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne. He recently began training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow, Russia, for his new adventure.
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 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, have signed Accession Agreements to the ESA Convention and will soon become new ESA Member States.
ESA has established formal cooperation with seven Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.
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.
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.
Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int
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