The Italian Almanac

Luca Parmitano

Space Walk

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano, who is set to become the only Italian have gone on a space walk, said he wanted to see an Italian in charge of the International Space Station (ISS). Parmitano, an Italian Air Force captain, has been training in Russia and in preparation of a mission to co-pilot a Soyuz TMA spacecraft and spend six months working on the space station beginning in May.

Parmitano was feted in March this year when it was announced he was to carry out space walks during a six month mission in at the International Space Station from May to November 2013. ''For Italy, for myself, and for the Italian Space Agency Asi, a space walk is an important step,'' he said speaking to journalists between tests and training sessions at the astronaut training centre in Star City, Moscow. "In the future I'd like to see (another) Italian commander on the ISS". To date the only Italian astronaut to have been commander of the space station is Paolo Nespoli, who between 2010 and 2011 worked for six months there during the MagIsstra mission.

Parmitano also expressed his wish for ''space still belong to everyone. It is very important to share this great privilege with the general public as much as possible," he added. "We are in space, we do science, exploration, and technology - it is important to tell people to come closer to this world, as there is really room for everyone here''.