AstroSamantha: Italy in first place in space

 A new flight by Elon Musk’s spacecraft, SpaceX, left yesterday at 9.52 a.m. as part of the NASA mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Among the astronauts on board also the Italian Samantha Cristoforetti. The crew included Italian commander Kjell Lindgren, pilot Bob Hines, mission specialist Jessica Watkins and the Italian ESA.

A live video of the countdown recounted the moments of preparation just before the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The NASA mission called Minerva comes two days after the landing of a SpaceX spacecraft off the coast of Florida with a crew of businessmen.

After many postponements due to bad weather, the weather conditions finally seemed to assist the Crew Dragon, which departed from ramp 39A of the Kennedy Space Center (Florida) pushed by a Space X Falcon 9 rocket. The docking to the Space Station was expected around 02:00: 15.

For AstroSamantha it is the second space mission, after Futura, of 2014-2015.

The Falcon 9 rocket rose from the ground, drawing an arc in the night sky (03:52 local time) driven by the 9 Merlin liquid propellant engines that make up the first stage which has already been used in three other previous space launches. The first stage separated 2 minutes and 39 seconds after takeoff and then returned and landed on a floating platform off the coast of Florida. The journey of the Freedom capsule continued driven by the second stage for another ten minutes. 11 minutes and 58 seconds from take-off, the second stage also separated and the capsule began its journey towards the ISS autonomously.

The name of the mission was chosen in homage to all the men and women who made human space flight possible: “Minerva was also a warrior goddess – explained Cristoforetti – who embodies the strength of mind, tenacity and discipline as well as the wisdom we aspire to demonstrate, as we consolidate and expand the human presence in space. ” Cristoforetti will work on dozens of scientific experiments on board the ISS, of which six are carried out through the Italian Space Agency (ASI), both in the medical field and to monitor the effects due to the long stay in orbit already started during the Beyond mission by Luca Parmitano. During her mission, AstroSam will also take on the role of leader of the American orbital segment, that is, the set of US, European and Canadian modules and components of the ISS. Once again Italy ranks first in space.

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Francesco D’Auria


II A – Furci Siculo

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