(AGI) Rome, June 11 - Samantha Cristoforetti, the Italianastronaut who spent almost 200 days on the International SpaceStation (ISS), has broken the record for the longest singespace flight by a woman, overcoming various challenges,appearing on TV, being followed on Twitter and conductingexperiments. The Italian astronaut's journey began back in 2009when she was a captain in the Italian Air Force and theEuropean Space Agency (ESA) selected her for the team of ESAastronauts. Samantha underwent a long programme of increasinglyintensive training from then until Nov. 23 2014, when the ISSExpedition 42 Futura launched from Baikonur cosmodrome inKazakhstan at 10 p.m. CET. Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerovand U.S. astronaut Terry Virts flew with her. Following sixhours of orbit flight and two hours for the docking operations,the astronauts boarded the ISS. The first days focused on briefexperiments as the scientists adjusted to the gravity freeconditions on board. Samantha kept up with her followers onEarth on social media and her blog. Her first Tweet from outerspace was, "Wow, wow, wow". That was the first of a long serieswith which the astronaut documented, in an often amusing style,life on board and the scientific activities, showingspectacular images of the Earth, especially of Italy. Fifty-onedays into her mission, a red alert warned of an ammonia leak onboard the ISS, at which the crew entered the Russian area ofthe ISS, closing the doors. "I did not smell any ammonia in thevessel, but of course I didn't keep on sniffing too long. Igrabbed an oxygen mask and went into the Russian segment of thevessels, together with Terry, Butch and Sasha. Elena and Antonwere already in the Russian segment at the time," MsCristoforetti wrote on her blog Avamposto 42. The alert lastedonly a few hours and the crew returned to their activities,including physical exercise to keep fit in the absence ofgravity, and training in the use of a mechanical arm, as wellas biology and physics experiments. One of the experimentsallowed Samantha to set another record, when she became thefirst astronaut to drink an Espresso in orbit. Samantha becamea real star in outer space, especially because of thepopularity she gained in Italy, her home country. Italians fellin love with Samantha due to the many TV shows on which sheappeared from orbit.. .