It's her second space mission.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti had flown to the International Space Station (ISS) before, in 2014.

At that time she stayed on board the ISS for a good six months.

After Futura, as her first mission was called, Minerva, named after the Roman goddess of wisdom, crafts and the arts, now follows for a few months.

The mission emblem is therefore also an owl.

Peter Philipp Schmitt

Editor in the department "Germany and the World".

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The four-man crew took off on April 27 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the flight itself with the Dragon spacecraft Freedom lasted only 16 hours.

On the ISS, Cristoforetti was expecting, among others, the German astronaut Matthias Maurer, for whom his stay on board the ISS ended a few days later.

It was quite unusual for two astronauts from the European Space Agency (ESA) to spend several days together on the most distant outpost on earth.

Two months earlier, on March 23, the 52-year-old Maurer had completed his first spacewalk.

It was the third overall this year, with two more to follow.

A sixth spacewalk took place on Thursday, which was special because it was the first time a woman from Europe left the ISS: 45-year-old Cristoforetti, who was born in Milan.

Hard work instead of just a walk

Her supposed walk, which meant hard work for her and her Russian colleague, cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, lasted seven hours and five minutes.

Among other things, the two also further equipped a robotic arm designed by ESA and built in Europe, which was a good eleven meters long.

After further spacewalks, it is scheduled to be commissioned later this year.

It will operate from the Russian segment and can be used, for example, to set up solar panels and repair or replace them if they are damaged.

Actually, Cristoforetti directs the American orbital segment, which also includes all European, Japanese and Canadian modules and components of the space station.

Incidentally, for Oleg Artemyev it was already the sixth spacewalk – since 1998 there have been exactly 251 missions outside the space station.