Expedition 52 flight engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA, left, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Randy Bresnik of NASA answer questions from the press outside the Soyuz simulator ahead of their final Soyuz qualification exam, on 7 July 2017 at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. The crew are preparing for launch with a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur on 28 July.
Paolo Nespoli will be heading to space for a third time. His mission, named the Vita mission, is part of a barter agreement between NASA and Italy’s ASI space agency involving ESA astronauts. Vita stands for Vitality, Innovation, Technology and Ability. In Italian, “vita” means “life”, reflecting the experiments that Paolo will run and the philosophical notion of living in outer space – one of the most inhospitable places for humans.