Italian Samantha Cristoforetti made her first spacewalk this Thursday, July 21, and by the same token that of a European astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS), according to images broadcast by NASA.
A big step for Europe. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti has become the first European woman to step outside the International Space Station at the age of 45. An engineer and fighter pilot, she now holds the record for the longest stay in space for a woman during a mission.
This is the second time in space for Samantha Cristoforetti. She left for the ISS on April 27.
At the head of the ISS
She now holds the record for the longest space stay for a woman on a mission, with a stay of 199 days in orbit, in 2014 and 2015. This time she should assume command of the station, a first also for a European astronaut.
The extra-vehicular exit (EVA) of this member of the astronaut corps of the European Space Agency (ESA), carried out at an altitude of more than 400 km, lasted nearly six and a half hours. She was accompanied by Russian cosmonaut and ISS commander Oleg Artemiev.
Samantha Cristoforetti and Oleg Artemiev’s EVA, the latter’s sixth, is the third outing devoted to the preparation of ERA.
Launched into orbit in July 2021 after many delays, the ERA robotic arm was installed a few months ago outside the Russian module of the ISS. 11 meters long, it allows to carry out maintenance or equipment tasks, mainly on the Russian segment, and can be directed from inside or outside the station. It can also operate in automatic mode and even be directed from an ESA ground station.