Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey to the International Space Station with Samantha Cristoforetti, a veteran astronaut from the European Space Agency. In her book, Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut, she takes us behind the scenes of her first mission and shares the incredible training process that led up to it.
Cristoforetti’s path to becoming an astronaut was no easy feat. As an Italian Air Force pilot, she saw the opportunity to apply for ESA’s astronaut selection as a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and she seized it. After being chosen among the six selected candidates in 2009, she devoted years to training at ESA and various facilities around the world.
The book delves into her intense training routines, which astronauts fondly refer to as “slow orbits,” as they travel across Europe, Russia, Japan, the US, and Canada. Through Cristoforetti’s vivid descriptions, we witness the friendships she builds along the way, as well as the occasional setbacks she faces, including a health scare that temporarily shook her dreams of space travel.
However, nothing could deter Cristoforetti from her purpose. In November 2014, she boarded the Soyuz spacecraft for her mission to the ISS. Her account of the experience is awe-inspiring. Despite the risks involved, she writes of feeling a sense of calm familiarity, as if she were truly at home in space.
The latter part of the book focuses on Cristoforetti’s life on the space station itself. With captivating speed, she describes her adjustment to microgravity and her interactions with her American and Russian crewmates. Through social media, she shared her experiences in real-time, giving readers a glimpse into the wonders and challenges of life in space.
While her time on the ISS was remarkable, Cristoforetti’s only disappointment was not being able to conduct a spacewalk. She had trained extensively for it, but due to unforeseen circumstances, she was unable to venture outside the station.
Originally released in Italy in 2018 and later in the UK, this US edition includes a recent interview with Cristoforetti as she prepares for her next mission. Her words reflect a deep connection to the space exploration community and an ever-present hope for the future.
Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut is a must-read for anyone captivated by the wonders of space. Its detailed and personal account will leave you inspired and in awe of the incredible journey taken by those who dare to explore the final frontier.