Sam Cristoforetti is a woman of historic firsts. For starters, she was the first Italian woman in space. Now, as of Saturday June 6th, 2015 at 11:04 a.m. EDT, she has broken the record for the most time in space for a single mission by a woman. In addition, Cristoforetti also holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut, and she was even the first person to brew a fresh cup of espresso in space, which seems appropriate given her heritage. Indeed, her list of accomplishments are vast.
Born in Milan in 1977, 38 year old Sam Cristoforetti is a European Space Agency astronaut, as well as an Italian Air Force pilot and engineer. Although rightfully proud of her list of accomplishments, Cristoforetti did not set out to break this record when she first began her mission with two other crewmates (Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and astronaut Terry Virts of NASA) on November23, 2014. The original plan was for the crew to return from the space station to Earth after spending 170 days in orbit on May 12, 2015. The loss of the Russian cargo craft Progress M-27M caused the plan to change. As a result, Russia postponed the launch of the next Soyuz and subsequently increased the duration of Cristoforetti's time participating in the mission, allowing her to help in the investigation of the failure of the Russian craft.
The mission will come to an end on June 11, 2015 when the crew is scheduled to return to earth. After this mission's historic conclusion, Cristoforetti will rank 74th in the world for the most time spent in space out of the 538 other people who have orbited earth thus far. She is also the 59th woman to fly in space.
Over the course of her time in space, Cristoforetti documented her experience on social media. She took to twitter to display the many breathtaking pictures she took during her journey. Those actions mark the continuation of another historic and scientific revelation first brought to prominence by Chris Hadfield; using social media to interact with the masses to engage and educate them on scientific matters. So let's celebrate Cristoforetti's achievements by looking back at a few of her breathtaking photos, which she kindly shares with the world on Twitter.