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A European becomes this Wednesday the commander of the International Space Station (ISS). A first on board. The Italian Samantha Cristoforetti will take over from the Russian, Oleg Artemyev, for a six-month mission.
The passing of the baton always gives rise to a small symbolic ceremony. The commander of the International Space Station gives a key to the astronaut who will succeed him. This honor falls to Samantha Cristoforetti. Normally, the role is symbolic, the routine on board will not really change. ” It’s an exciting day, but at the same time the work here continues as it does every day, with lots of science, technology demonstration, and of course all the maintenance needed to keep this incredible outpost of humanity in the space, explains Samantha Cristoforetti. We continue to do everything we need to make the best use of the station in order to learn more and prepare for future explorations. »
It is in the event of a problem that the burden becomes more tangible, it is then the captain who makes the decisions and is responsible for the safety of the crew. By taking up her new duties, Samantha Cristoforetti will become the fifth European to take on this responsibility and the first woman from the Old Continent.
Last summer, she had already been the first to carry out an extravehicular exit, in space, in the company of the Russian, Oleg Artemyev, who gave her the keys to the ship this Wednesday, September 28.
►To read: Space: many questions after the announcement of Russia’s withdrawal from the ISS