Saturday, October 15, 2022

Samantha Returns to Earth | International Space Station

Samantha Returns to Earth | International Space Station

Summary: Samantha's accomplishments include becoming the first European woman to spacewalk and the first European woman to command the International Space Station.

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy, shortly after having splashed down with the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

Samantha’s Minerva mission began on April 27, 2022, when she was launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, USA, as part of Crew-4. While this mission was not her first to the International Space Station, it was packed full of groundbreaking moments.

On July 21, Samantha completed her first spacewalk, outfitting the European Robotic Arm alongside Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. This European project is capable of ‘walking’ between locations on the Station, offering grappling, transport, and installation assistance for payloads. Beyond this activity being a personal milestone, this extravehicular activity also made her the first European woman to spacewalk.

Samantha assumed the role of station commander on September 28, 2022, making her the fifth European, and first European woman, to hold the leadership position of the International Space Station. As commander, Samantha was responsible for the performance and well-being of her colleagues in space, maintaining effective communication with the teams on Earth, and coordinating crew response in case of emergencies. At the end of her mission, she assured a smooth transition between Expedition 67 and Expedition 68.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Freedom transporting Crew-4 autonomously undocked from the International Space Station and after a series of burns, entered Earth’s atmosphere and deployed parachutes for a soft water-landing. Samantha and Crew-4 splashed down on October 14, 2022 at 21:55 BST (22:55 CEST).

Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)/S.Corvaja

Image Date: October 14, 2022

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