After landing I ate a big salad, says Italian astronaut

(AGI) Houston, June 15 - Italian astronaut SamanthaCristoforetti described her slow return to normality after 199days in space in a call from Houston. "The first thing I ateafter landing was a big salad and took the much dreamt ofshower 'sitting down' during a stop-over in Scotland," shesaid. She also explained her role as space research andexploration journalist, and said she is happy if "even onlyfive children become enthusiastic about space" thanks to her.She emphasised that despite the great popularity she gainedthrough this mission, her main focus remains scientific,because "an astronaut

(AGI) Houston, June 15 - Italian astronaut SamanthaCristoforetti described her slow return to normality after 199days in space in a call from Houston. "The first thing I ateafter landing was a big salad and took the much dreamt ofshower 'sitting down' during a stop-over in Scotland," shesaid. She also explained her role as space research andexploration journalist, and said she is happy if "even onlyfive children become enthusiastic about space" thanks to her.She emphasised that despite the great popularity she gainedthrough this mission, her main focus remains scientific,because "an astronaut is not a celebrity by profession". Shewent on: "It was an exceptional experience. I lent my hands andeyes to science. Once the mission is over, I will report on it,but I'm sure this journalistic experience will end soon." Theastronaut from Trento, northern Italy, said that she sleptperfectly well on the International Space Station and never hadnightmares. "I miss floating back and forth and the feeling oflightness, and also having a special window through which tolook down at Earth from up there," said "AstroSamantha", as sheis nick-named. She confessed that there were times she felt shewas in a "washing machine gone berserk". Captain Cristoforettiwill fly back from the United States to the European SpaceAgency centre in Cologne, Germany, in the second half of thesummer, after she finishes a several-week-long rehabilitation.A "Post-Fly Tour" begins in October and will also includeItaly, explained Roberto Battiston, the president of theItalian Space Agency who also hinted that an Italian could soonbe placed in command of the space station. (AGI) . .

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