About the MagISStra mission name

Nespoli’s mission is called ‘MagISStra’, combining the Latin word ‘magistra’, a female teacher, with the acronym of the International Space Station. This Latin flavour not only brings in Italian culture as an ingredient of the European outlook, but also echoes the humanistic value of the mission.

Since the beginning of the spaceflight adventure, humankind has pursued new frontiers to find its place in the Universe. Europe’s astronaut take this human sense of exploration with him to the Station.

The Latin word 'magister', for a male teacher, means 'master' in English, and also 'expert', 'proficient' or 'fully in control', all of which refer to the very high level of astronaut competence demanded for each mission. The name also reflects the special link with education, one of the three elements of Paolo’s flight.

In the European scholarly tradition, teachers lead us towards knowledge. MagISStra talks about this challenge and the learning processes faced by students worldwide every day.

That same learning instinct has led Europe to participate in the International Space Station by adding new modules and bringing more science to the orbital complex. MagISStra teaches us to be curious and to look for discoveries for the benefit of science.

ESA launched a Europe-wide competition to name Paolo’s mission and finally chose 'MagISStra', the suggestion from Antonella Pezzani of Italy. Read the story behind her winning proposal here.

Last update: 19 March 2013

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