Science & Exploration

Luca Parmitano

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Astronauts

Born in Paternò (although he considers Catania to be his hometown) Italy, on 27 September 1976 Luca Parmitano is married with two daughters. He enjoys weight training, swimming, swimming, biking and running. Other interests include snowboarding, scuba diving and reading as well as listening to and playing music.

Education

Luca Parmitano
Luca Parmitano

Luca graduated from the Liceo Scientifico Statale 'Galileo Galilei' in Catania, Italy, in 1995.

In 1999, he completed a bachelor’s degree in political sciences at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, with a thesis on international law. In 2000, he graduated from the Italian Air Force Academy, in Pozzuoli, Italy.

Luca completed basic flight training with the US Air Force at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training in Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, US, in 2001. In 2002 he qualified on the A-11 at the 101st Operational Conversion Unit. In the same year, he completed the JCO/CAS course with the USAFE in Sembach, Germany.

In 2003, he qualified as Electronic Warfare Officer at the ReSTOGE in Pratica di Mare, Italy. He completed the Tactical Leadership Programme in Florennes, Belgium, in 2005.

In July 2009, Luca completed a master’s degree in experimental flight test engineering at the Institute Superieure de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace in Toulouse, France.

Special honours

Luca was awarded a Silver Medal to the Aeronautical Valour by the President of the Italian Republic in 2007. He was recognised a ‘Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica’ by the President of the Italian Republic in 2013.

Experience

Following completion of undergraduate pilot training in 2001, Luca flew the AM-X aircraft with the 13th Group, 32nd Wing in Amendola, Italy, from 2001 to 2007. During that time, he obtained all aircraft qualifications, including Combat Ready, day/night air to air refuelling, Four Ship Leader and Mission Commander/Package Leader.

Within the 13th Group he served as Chief of Training Section and Commander of the 76th Flight. He was also the 32nd Wing Electronic Warfare Officer.

In 2007, he was selected by the Italian Air Force to become a test pilot. He trained as an Experimental Test Pilot at EPNER, the French test pilot school in Istres.

Luca was promoted to the role of Colonel in the Italian Air Force ahead of his Beyond mission in 2019. He has logged more than 2000 hours flying time, is qualified on more than 20 types of military airplanes and helicopters, and has flown over 40 types of aircraft.

Luca was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009.

Spaceflight

In February 2011, Luca was assigned as a flight engineer to Italian space agency ASI's first long-duration mission on the International Space Station. He was launched on a Soyuz launcher from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on 28 May 2013.

Luca spent 166 days in space, personally conducting over 20 experiments, and took part in two spacewalks and the docking of four spacecraft during his ‘Volare’ mission. He landed safely back on Earth on 11 November 2013.

Current assignment

Luca was the Ground IV (lead EVA communicator) during fellow ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s first spacewalk on his Proxima mission, which took place on 13 January 2017. The spacewalk was completed in 5 hours and 58 minutes.

During the annual press briefing on 18 January 2017, ESA Director General Jan Woerner confirmed Luca’s return to the International Space Station as part of Expedition 60/61 in 2019. The name and logo for this mission ‘Beyond’ were revealed at ESA’s ESRIN establishment in Italy on 27 September 2018.

Luca was launched to the International Space Station for his second mission in the Russian Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft on 20 July 2019 – the 50th anniversary of the first human lunar landing. He is currently serving as the third European and first ever Italian crew commander of the International Space Station.

Learn more about Luca's Beyond mission in this brochure.

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