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Samantha Cristoforetti
Works at European Space Agency
Attended Technical University of Munich
Lives in Cologne, Germany
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Samantha Cristoforetti

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L+200: Logbook - Part 5

[cont.] As you might have guessed, there was one last leak check to be performed before undocking: the leak check of the hatch between the descent module and the orbital module. Eventually, we would separate from the orbital module and the descent module hatch would be the one protecting us from vacuum!

Right now, of course, the pressure across the hatch was roughly equal: after all, we had just closed it a few minutes earlier. To perform a leak check, we had to create a pressure differential and to do that we would vent some air from the orbital module into space via the relief valve. Anton selected the closing command on his display, so that he would be able to reclose the valve with a simple button push. Once that was done, I opened the relief valve. On our life support display we watched the pressure in the orbital module drop, until Anton sent the command to close the valve. We had created a pressure differential of about 150 mm Hg and now we would check for any pressure equalization across the hatch: maximum acceptable pressure drop in the descent module was 25 mm Hg in 25 minutes. At the end of the monitoring time we were well within that requirement: leak check passed!

Finally, it was time to wait. Patiently. For almost an hour: a buffer time inserted in our timeline in case of problems. Let’s imagine, for example, an issue with the suit leak check: we would have disconnected and reconnected the gloves, opened and reclosed the helmet, making really sure that no debris was caught in the sealing surface, and then we would have performed the leak check again. Or let’s say that the descent module hatch would have failed the leak check: we would have equalized the pressure, opened the hatch, verified that the sealing surfaces were intact and clean and then reclosed for another leak check. All things that require time. But since everything had gone smoothly in our pre-departure ops, there we were, fully strapped in our seats, waiting. 

It’s nice not to be rushed, but of course the “sitting” position in the Soyuz is not the most comfortable one, even for a small person like me – I can imagine how painful it can be for bigger crewmembers to sit for so long with the knees bent towards the chest!

We talked, we joked, we took some glances out the windows, we reviewed procedures for the upcoming reentry, we thought about our friends on the Space Station, still so close, but already belonging to another world.

Then, at 13:17:30 Moscow time I sent the command to turn on the Soyuz docking system. One minute later, at 13:18:30 I sent the next command: Hooks Open. The electrical motors of the docking system started to drive the hooks that kept us attached to the Space Station to the open position. Within a couple of minutes the hooks were fully open and the spring-loaded pushers imparted to our Soyuz a separation velocity: on the periscope view in front of Anton’s central seat we could observe the docking port further and further away. That was it, we were leaving. Good bye Space Station! Good bye Scott, Misha, Gennady! [cont]

Photo: our Soyuz departing from ISS

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
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(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio  
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com
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thank you for taking us with you , Samantha Cristoforetti.
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L+200: Logbook - Part 3

This is the third entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

[cont.] After depressurizing the vestibule, we observed for a few minutes the pressure indications for the descent module and the orbital module of our Soyuz: both stable, so there was no obvious, fast leak. (Not that we were expecting one!).
Of course we needed to check for a slow leak as well, before we committed to leaving the Station and relying on the Soyuz hatch to keep our air inside. The full leak check would take 30 min, with measurements of the vestibule pressure recorded every 5 min, but since there was no fast pressure drop it was safe for us to reopen the hatch of the descent module and float back to the orbital module to don our Sokol suits.
 
I went first, as we had planned. Anton and Terry stayed in the descent module while I used the Soyuz toilet. I wanted to empty my bladder as late as possible: I did wear a diaper, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to use it in the several hours of weightlessness that still lay between us and the deorbit burn. Somehow diapers and weightlessness don’t get along for me, as I had experienced during ascent.
 
I put on my biomedical belt in direct contact with the skin and then my Sokol underwear, periodically calling the vestibule pressure readings from the manovacumeter to Anton and Terry, so they could report them to the ground. Over the course of 30 minutes, the maximum allowed pressure increase to call the hatches air tight was 1 mm Hg.
 
Anton joined me in the orbital module to help me don the Sokol. To make things faster, I basically held on to keep myself as still as possible and let Anton take care of tying and zipping up everything. One of the cool things about being an astronaut: you can let somebody else dress you as an adult and nobody laughs at you!
 
As Anton pointed out, we didn’t have a whole lot of time. Because of a test of the Kurs antennas, which would run in the background during our undocking, the ground was going to send the activation command of the guidance and navigation system over an hour earlier than they normally would on a typical departure day schedule. We were already talking Moscow-time at that point, since this the time on which we run Soyuz ops: the night before we had diligently written the significant times in our checklists, based on the radiogram sent up by Mission Control Moscow. Not only vacuum separated us now from the Space Station but, in a way, also three hours!
 
After I was all dressed up in my Sokol, which would keep me alive in case of depressurization during re-entry, I took a last sip of water from a bag that would stay in the orbital module, grabbed one last snack and then floated to my seat in the descent module. It didn’t escape me that those were my last few seconds of free floating: once strapped in in my seat, I wouldn’t unstrap until after landing on Earth. [cont]

Photo: in the Sokol a few days before undocking for a preliminary leak check.

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
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(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com
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Samantha Cristoforetti

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L+200: Logbook - Part 1

After a summer of rehab and debriefs (and yes, 2 weeks of vacation), time to wrap up the story of my mission to ISS. This is the first  entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

11 June 2015
Looks like this time they mean it: after a delay of one month, this time they really want us to go home.

It was an early wake-up for our very last day on ISS: the morning Daily Planning Conference, our tagup with the control centers to start the day, was scheduled for 1 am! But we did go to sleep in the early afternoon yesterday, in fact we have been sleep shifting for a couple of days. Undocking is not until 10:18 am, but there's a lot to do before we can send that command to open the hooks that keep our Soyuz attached to the Space Station. And if you’re imagining us taking our time to say our mental farewell, leisurely savoring our last few hours in space…well, of course you’re not, you know better than that!

In fact, the morning was busy as ever. Scott and I were in Columbus even before DPC, assisting each other with our blood draws. This was a so-called “ambient blood draw”, meaning that the tubes don’t go into the MELFI freezers, but return to Earth on the Soyuz instead. They will be retrieved from the descent modules right after we are extracted. The blood draw in itself was no different than any other we’ve done, but the packing instructions did look daunting, especially regarding some particular tubes that Scott uses for his Twin Study. I will be forever grateful to him for offering to taking care of all the packing on his own, so I could save some time for a final tour of the Space Station. Thanks Scott!

However, I did get my share of packing as well. Remember the Stem Cells Differentiation experiment from the L+141/144 Logbook? (https://plus.google.com/photos/+SamanthaCristoforetti/albums/6138605812631231809)
Well, those samples need to go home today as well, so I got to retrieve them from MELFI and pack them in insulated pouches for return. There isn’t much space in the Soyuz descent module, as you can imagine, so we try to pack things as compact as possible. In case of early-retrieval items, we put the number of the package on a green label and we also take a picture, that will be made available to the retrieval team at the landing site, so they know exactly what to look for. Of course, Anton is loading the Soyuz exactly according to the cargo plan: having the center of mass in the right place is important in a space vehicle, especially if it’s your ride back to Earth!

By the way, it’s not only blood that I have been donating to science today. First thing after waking up for the last time in my floating sleeping bag, I took three different saliva samples – a 10-min routine that I have performed many times by now for the experiments Microbiome and Salivary markers. Oh, and don’t forget urine collection! I will be filling out urine tubes and putting them into the MELFI freezer at every void until hatch closure. The glamour of spaceflight...

Picture: retrieving the Stem Cell Differentiation samples from the MELFI freezer.

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
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(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com
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A children’s book on Samantha Cristoforetti’s space mission
Uma la chiocciola in orbita (Uma the snail in orbit) is a new Italian illustrated children’s book inspired by +Samantha Cristoforetti's space mission. Intended for for 5-8 years old kids, it’s the story of Uma, a snail who somehow gets to the ISS while Samantha is aboard for her mission.

My photo shows the book’s cover. It was written by Manuela Aguzzi and illustrated by Andrea Mariconti, and Samantha contributed the preface: http://www.amazon.it/dp/886945018X

The illustrations are realistic and lively, I love the way even the book’s layout reminds of the space and weightlessness environment.

Manuela knows space well as she’s an Astronaut Instructor at ESA. I interviewed her for the +AstronautiCAST podcast of +ISAA - Italian Space and Astronautics Association, a space outreach organization I’m on the board of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYPHXUpXK8c

We at ISAA are honored to have endorsed the book together with +Video of Wefly! Team.

#Futura42
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First breakfast in my temporary Houston home, enjoying sounds, smells, flavors of Earth. Doing great, but gravity is tough! 
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Seninle oturup kahvaltı etsek
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ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti has many special ingredients with her on the International Space Station - find out more about her #spacefood in this blog entry "Cooking in space in at the restaurant at the end of the Universe": http://outpost42.esa.int/blog/cooking-in-space-at-the-restaurant-at-the-end-of-the-universe/

This video shows one of the dishes Samantha has enjoyed in space. What meals would you cook with her ingredients? Send us your #SpaceFoodAtHome pics... and Samantha might try out your recipe!
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Carino sei uscita bene
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Samantha Cristoforetti

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L+200: Logbook - Part 4

This is the fourth entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

Strapping in in the Soyuz is not as quick as fastening your seatbelt: the space is cramped, the position uncomfortable, some of the straps are hard to reach. Additionally, as I had learned during our Sokol leak check, being weightless doesn’t make it any easier, since your body doesn’t stay put in the seat. So I was glad when everything was done: oxygen and ventilation hoses attached, com and biomedical cables connected, shoulder, lap and knee straps fastened. I didn’t tighten them, since it would still be several hours before the deorbit burn and our re-entry in the atmosphere. In spite of the physical effort of strapping in, I still didn’t feel too warm in the Sokol, so I did not turn on the suit ventilation, enjoying a few more minutes of quietness.

Over the radio came the dear, familiar voice of our Soyuz instructor, Dima, who would be on space-to-ground from Moscow today, just like he had been our “control center voice” for hundreds of hours in the simulator back in Star City. He asked me for the status of our suit donning ops and I reported that I was strapped in and Anton was helping Terry in the orbital module. Then I selected the page on my command-and-control display showing the technical parameters of our vehicle. Everything looked good, except that our CO2 level was trending high, close to 4 mm Hg. I was about to report it, but Mission Control Moscow was obviously watching it already via telemetry: Dima instructed me over the radio to activate our CO2 scrubbing now, a bit earlier than it would have been foreseen in the checklist. 

A few more pressure reports from Terry and Anton, which I relayed to Moscow, and the leak check was deemed complete and passed: undocking from the ISS was safe. By the way, I should add that we had also performed a check of the attitude thrusters a few days before undocking. First, the flight controllers had taken the ISS in drift mode, meaning that the Station would allow itself to be brought slightly out of attitude by the Soyuz thrusters firings, without actively trying to compensate for those disturbances. Then Anton and I had taken our seats in the Soyuz, we had configured Soyuz systems so that the manual controls would control thrusters firings and Anton had deflected the controllers in all six degrees of freedom in sequence, giving us a chance to make sure that they would react properly to all control inputs, both the in primary and backup control loop.

Back to the departure day, it was now Terry’s turn to strap himself in the seat. Within a few minutes Anton also joined us in the descent module, closing the hatch that separated us from the orbital module.

Once we were all strapped in, we put on the gloves and closed the helmet to start the leak check of our suits. First we turned the blue regulator valve on our chests to the closed position and the simple ventilation flow from the fans blew up our suits just slightly. Then Anton gave a short 5-seconds countdown, at the end of which he started the stopwatch, as I simultaneously opened the valve that started an oxygen flow into our suits. We each monitored the increase of suit pressure on our wrist manometer and reported when we reached 0,1 atm and 3,5 atm, so that Anton could write down the “filling times”. The ground was also following along, since we had locked-in the transmit button before starting the leak check.
After reaching 3.5 atm each of us let the suit deflate, controlling the flow rate with the regulator valve in order to give time to our ears to compensate for the pressure drop. Then we opened our helmet and I closed the supply line from the oxygen tanks. We would not remove the gloves any more until after landing.

Good news: all of our suits had “filled up” within the required time, passing the leak check. Another potential hurdle on our departure schedule was behind us!

Photo: from this screenshot from our launch video you can see how cramped it is in the Soyuz!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
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(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com
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L+200: Logbook - Part 2

This is the second  entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!
 
11 June 2015
In spite of the busy pre-departure schedule, I did find the time for one last tour of the Space Station: just a quick float-through, trying to soak it in and fix it all in my memory. Oh, and one flight last across the Lab, pushing off the handrails on the one end just the right way to fly straight to the other hatchway. Seems so natural, those clumsy first days when flying was a challenge are many month in the past. 
 
I trashed my last toiletry items left in Node 3 and also a few last pieces of clothing left in my crew quarters from the night, after which I only "owned" the clothes I was wearing. I logged off my personal laptops: should anyone write an email to me in space from now on, I will never read it, since I will never have access to this email address again. I took one last look in Columbus, to make sure I was leaving it in good shape. Silly, in a way, I have no more formal responsibility for Columbus than for any other place on Station, but I guess I have always felt a bit in charge of this piece of Europe in space. Finally, I showed Scott where he could find my left-over bonus food. I ran out of olive oil a few days ago: I guess it's really time to leave.
 
At 6 am I joined Anton in the Soyuz for to perform a few checks and activation tasks. Everything went smoothly and quickly. Then it was time to stow some water and a last minute snacks in the orbital module of the Soyuz, verify that all the checklists were present and wait for hatch closing time, around 7 am.
 
We had said our good byes last night, taking our time over dinner, but it was still an intense moment when we exchanged one last hug with Scott, Gennady and Misha. Even more so, when Anton and Gennady closed the hatches. For a moment I became acutely aware of the fact that life would continue on ISS, but we would no longer be part of it. But there was no time to linger on that thought,  now we had to focus on getting safely back to Earth. The nice thing about spaceflight is that there is always a hatch closure to signal unambiguously that something has finished and it's time to focus on what's coming next.
  
First priority: get all the pre-departure operations done properly and in time, starting with the leak check of the Soyuz and Station hatches. As you can probably guess, if you've been following this logbook, to do that we needed to depressurize the vestibule, the space between that two hatches. For safety (should the Soyuz external hatch actually leak) we all went to our place in the descent module and closed the hatch, to isolate ourselves from the orbital module. Then I sent the command to open the vestibule venting valve and we watched the pressure in the vestibule drop to almost zero. Although we were still solidly attached to the Space Station, there was now vacuum separating us from our friends inside.  [cont.]


#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=822247314539790

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com
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awesome experience haan..... nice...
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"People are always going to need some reinforcement that amazing things are possible"

Great interview with my friend +Cady Coleman !
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I love your thoughts. 
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Thanks to the folks at the Cosmonaut Training Center for this beautiful video summary of our training in Star City and our Soyuz flights to and from the Space Station.

It was shown on Friday at the Welcome Home ceremony in Star City. Very moving!

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es unabendicionelqueyaletngamoenelhogarsiqueriamoestrconmifamiladebidolamalfuconamientodelapgimanohemspodidocomuncarnos
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After readings in Italian and Russian, ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti was keen to do a reading in English - after suggestions from her followers on social media, she chose to read Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, by Iza Trapini - show it to your kids tonight for a special good night from space at bedtime!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e2_i7zDur0
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shit man 
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Ti stimo tantissimo bona notte amico Roberto ciao capitano
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  • European Space Agency
    Astronaut, present
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Currently
Cologne, Germany
Previously
Verona, Italy - Houston, USA - Trento, Italy - Bolzano, Italy - St. Paul, USA - Munich, Germany - Toulouse, France - Moscow, Russia - Napoli, Italy - Wichita Falls, USA - Treviso, Italy
Story
Introduction
Astronaut at the European Space Agency
Italian Air Force Officer
Bragging rights
Somehow jet lag hasn't killed me yet.
Education
  • Technical University of Munich
    Aerospace Engineering, 1996 - 2001
  • Italian Air Force Academy
    Aeronautical Science, 2001 - 2005
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ESA/EAC Linder Hoehe 51147 Cologne Germany