This Woman Just Set a Record in Space

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is close to being there for 200 days
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2015 1:58 PM CDT
In this photo posted on Twitter on May 3, 2015, and provided by NASA, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti sips espresso from a cup after firing up the first espresso machine in space.   (NASA via AP)
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(Newser) – Nearly 200 days in outer space is what Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will have logged when she touches down in Kazakhstan on Thursday, a feat that has given her the world record for the longest time in space by a woman on a single mission, USA Today reports. On Saturday, the celestial traveler—already honored with the designation of being the first Italian woman in space—broke Sunita Williams' record of just under 195 days; by the time she arrives back on Earth she'll have technically been up there for 199 days, 16 hours, and 42 minutes, notes CBS News. Cristoforetti, flying for the European Space Agency, was actually scheduled to come back on May 12, but the loss of a Russian cargo craft necessitated a longer stay.

During her extra time in the skies, Cristoforetti put in a new water pump in Europe's space lab at the International Space Station and carried out an upgrade on a video recording system, an ESA press release reports. Her record-breaking feat also gave her the record for the longest uninterrupted flight by an ESA astronaut. Cristoforetti—who often capped off her nights in the cosmos by tweeting, "Good night from #space. Buona notte dallo spazio"—set another record in early May: She became the first person to brew a fresh cup of coffee in space using the International Space Station's brand-new espresso machine, per the collectSpace website. (Women astronauts continue to make inroads at NASA.)

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