ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and Roscosmos commander Sergey Ryazansky entered the International Space Station in the early hours of 29 July after a six-hour trip in their Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft. The Expedition 52/53 crew was launched from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 28 July.
After orbiting Earth four times to catch up to the International Space Station, the car-sized spacecraft arrived at the Station six hours after launch. Paolo, Randy and Sergey will spend five months in space working and living on the International Space Station.
The Vita mission is the tenth long-duration mission for an ESA astronaut and the third mission to the Station for Paolo Nespoli.
Vita stands for Vitality, Innovation, Technology and Ability and was chosen by Italy’s ASI space agency, which is providing the mission through a barter agreement with NASA.
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.
Paolo’s extensive scientific programme includes experiments in biology, human physiology as well as space environment monitoring, materials science and technology demonstrations.
When not performing science, Paolo will work with his colleagues to maintain the Space Station and keep the orbital outpost running smoothly for the crew of six.