Italian astronaut to land in Kazakhstan on Soyuz in June

(AGI) Rome, June 6 - Samantha Cristoforetti, the first womanastronaut in Italy's history, will land back on the Earth at3:43 p.m. (CET time; 7:43 p.m. Kazakhstan time) on Thursday,June 11, after spending more than six months in outer space.The news was reported to AGI, the Italian News Agency, bysources of NASA. The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft is expected toland in the Kazakhstan's deserted steppes, near the city ofDzhezkazgan, south of Karaganda. The spacecraft that will becarrying Samantha Cristoforetti, Russia's Anton Shkaplerov andthe American Terry Virts, will undock from the Rassvet moduleof

(AGI) Rome, June 6 - Samantha Cristoforetti, the first womanastronaut in Italy's history, will land back on the Earth at3:43 p.m. (CET time; 7:43 p.m. Kazakhstan time) on Thursday,June 11, after spending more than six months in outer space.The news was reported to AGI, the Italian News Agency, bysources of NASA. The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft is expected toland in the Kazakhstan's deserted steppes, near the city ofDzhezkazgan, south of Karaganda. The spacecraft that will becarrying Samantha Cristoforetti, Russia's Anton Shkaplerov andthe American Terry Virts, will undock from the Rassvet moduleof the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS)at 12:20 p.m. CET time. The spacecraft is then expected to exitits orbit at 14:51 p.m. and land shortly after. Cristoforettiand Virts will be greeted by the authorities after a quickon-site medical test and subsequently be flown on a NASA flightto the Houston Space Center. There Samantha will be submittedto a long rehabilitation process after more than six monthsspent in a gravity-free environment and will download all thescientific data collected. The fly-back operation will begin onWednesday, June 10, when Terry Virts will handover the commandof the ISS to Russia's Gennady Padalka, who is due to remain onthe space station until September. Approximately three hoursfrom the undocking, Ms Cristoforetti and her team-mates will goinside the spacecraft and initiate the re-entry operations."AstroSamantha", as she is called, is a 38-year-old Captain ofthe Italian Air Force and an astronaut of ASI and ESA, theItalian and European Space Agencies respectively. She willconclude the mission, which began last November 24 at theBaikonur Cosmodrome, after spending 199 days in outer space,travelling approximately 84 million miles and conducting a longset of experiments. By virtue of the delay in the re-entryoperation, which was initially scheduled for May 12, MsCristoforetti will also beat the world record for a woman'spermanence in orbit. On Sunday, May 7, she will have topped the195-day record set in 2007 by American Sunita Williams, 49.Samantha also beat the Italian record of permanence in space,which belonged to Paolo Nespoli, with 175 days. Once back inItaly, Samantha will go on a post-flight tour although thestops have not been decided yet: perhaps on the Garda Lake(where her family now lives) and Male' in Val di Sole (nearTrento, in northern Italy) where she lived when she was ateenager before moving to Munich, Germany, where she continuedher secondary studies. (AGI) . .