ESA title
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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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 – and returned 6 February 2020.

His 201-day mission saw him take on the role of Space Station commander for Expedition 61 – becoming the third European and first ever Italian International Space Station commander. He also conducted a series complex spacewalks to repair the cosmic-particle-hunting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer instrument, AMS-02. In total, Luca carried out four spacewalks, totaling 25 hours and 30 minutes. He has now conducted six spacewalks in his career, totaling 33 hours and 9 minutes.

During Beyond, Luca supported more than 50 European experiments and 200 international experiments in space. Other highlights including performing the first ‘live DJ session’ in Earth orbit, addressing world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 25 and talking to Nobel Laureates about exoplanets and the chemistry of batteries.

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

Parmitano has logged 366 days in space, more than any ESA astronaut in history.

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