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Read about a pilot rising to spectacular heights: from her time in training to her trip to low Earth orbit
Several of our colleagues have put themselves forward for the recruitment campaign to select future European astronauts. To understand what it takes to go into space – famously called the “right stuff” – we took a look at the class of 2009. We begin with the diary of Samantha Cristoforetti.
“When the launcher’s engines started, I knew my life’s dream had come true.” European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti spent seven months in low Earth orbit (LEO) aboard the International Space Station (ISS). A huge space fan from a young age, in her diary Samantha she gives a detailed account of life on the ISS without ever losing her original sense of wonder.
For non-specialists, every rocket launch lift and astronaut video may make things seem simple. Samantha tactfully reminds us how far this is from the truth.
Before being able to head into space, every astronaut goes through a very long apprentice process. Samantha explains how she kept her childhood dream alive through outdoor activities and her training to become a fighter pilot. It subsequently turned into absolute devotion during her astronaut training years.
Before going into space, astronauts undergo years of ceaseless training, focusing on both body and mind, travelling all over the world, without knowing when their turn will come. Samantha describes the sublime; she also talks about her disappointments, such as when her spacewalk was cancelled due to a stroke of bad luck.
Her book is a poetic description of how, through patience, self-sacrifice, and achievement, she finally made it to the launch pad. Her story is sure to fuel your own dreams about space, whichever they may be. Hopefully, Samantha will write a sequel after her next stay on the ISS, scheduled for spring 2022. She will be the flight commandant for this mission.