Umberto Guidoni visits ESRIN
Umberto Guidoni, the first ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, took time out from his recent visit to Italy and ESRIN, ESA’s research institute based in Rome, to meet some of the staff.
Altogether Umberto spent a total of 12 days in space, from 19 April to 2 May. One of his jobs while on board was to make sure that the Italian-built multipurpose pressurised logistics module, named Raffaello, was attached correctly to the space station and that everything was functioning correctly.
The MPLM has its own sophisticated life support system to allow astronauts to work inside it and unload scientific equipment stored in specially designed racks. It also serves as a ‘removal van’ for material no longer needed.
During his visit to ESRIN, Umberto was presented with a book containing all the email messages sent to him through ESA during his mission. Only a few of these could be forwarded to him each day, otherwise he would have spent all his time on board replying to emails, as altogether over 800 messages were received! However, Umberto sent an autographed photograph of himself to all those who sent him an email.
On expressing his thanks for the unexpected ‘present’ Umberto said “rereading these messages in times to come will help me to remember the incredible experience of visiting the space station. I would like to say a big thank you to all the people who took the time to write.”