Profile of Paolo Nespoli, astronaut for the European Space Agency

by | Jul 25, 2012 | Seradata News | 0 comments

Paolo Nespoli, an Italian astronaut for the European Space Agency, has been in orbit twice. Firstly, he was part of the Space Shuttle Discovery crew during NASA’s STS-120 mission to deliver the Harmony module to the International Space Station in 2007. Most recently, he returned to the ISS via the Soyuz TMA-20 for expedition 26/27, which launched in December 2010. Nespoli returned to Earth in May 2011.

Nespoli, 55, trained as an aerospace engineer but during his national service he enjoyed life in the Italian armed forces so much he stayed on for another seven years. He served in the Italian Special forces, even taking part in exercises with the British Army’s SAS.

However, despite how tough and resourceful he is, on his most recent space mission Nespoli had to cope with being told his mother was seriously ill and would die while he was still in orbit. Nespoli is grateful for the communications and video patches NASA and ESA provided during this difficult time, which allowed him to say his farewells to his mother just before she died.

He is especially grateful for the kindness and respect he was shown – his commander arranged one minute of crew and radio silence as Nespoli looked down on Italy from the ISS while his mother’s funeral took place. After her death, Nespoli, received messages of condolence from the president of Italy and even the Pope.

When asked if he was religious, Nespoli says he was born a Catholic but did not really practise regularly. However, he adds: “But surely being in space and seeing the Earth from far away makes you wonder even more.”

He came in for praise during his Soyuz mission by taking some memorable photographs and videos from the spacecraft and the ISS, but the modest Nespoli adds: “We should really send a professional photographer up there.”

Nespoli, who is married and has a three-year-old daughter, displayed a natural affinity for communicating to a young audience at the Farnborough air show, where he lectured on spaceflight alongside British astronaut-to-be and former army helicopter test pilot Maj Tim Peake. Nespoli remains on the active spaceflight list as an astronaut, and hopes to enter orbit again soon.

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

On a lighter note: Hyperbola sic transit gloria ad Roma

Sinister! Dexter! Sinister! Dexter! (left, right, left right) Flightglobal will be marching its Hyperbola legion 9well this writer) to Rome Read more

Flightglobal’s Hyperbola to be at 17th International Space Conference in Rome

Flightglobal will be at the 17th International Space Conference being held at the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Rome on Read more

Spacewalkers re-route ammonia coolant to back-up radiator on International Space Station

US Astronaut Suni Williams and Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide made a spacewalk EVA (Extra Vehiclular Activity) to set up an Read more

Progress M-017M cargo vessel is launched by Soyuz on a rapid approach sequence to International Space Station (Updated)

The unmanned cargo freighter vessel Progress M-017M/ISS-49P was launched on a rapid approach trajectory to the International Space Station at Read more

Soyuz TMA-06M is docked with International Space Station

The Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft has docked to the International Space Station (ISS) at 1229 GMT on 25 October. The docking Read more

Sarah Brightman confirms she is flying to International Space Station

While the Flightglobal Hyperbola column reported newswire reports of her negotiations in August, in early October the singer Sarah Brightman Read more

ATV-03 is temporarily stuck on International Space Station (Updated)

The European Space Agency's cargo craft, ATV 03 (EDOARDO AMALDI), has failed to undock from the Zvezda port of the Read more

Soyuz TMA-06M launch delayed until 23 October after switching unit changed

The launch of Soyuz TMA-06M on a Soyuz FG rocket has been delayed from 15 October to 23 October after Read more

Categories

Archives