—by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
The 45-minute documentary is narrated by A-list Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence–off screen!
Samantha Cristoforetti was born on 26 April 1977 in Milan. She attended Space Camp in St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of 18 and graduated from the Technical University in Munich, Germany with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
She later studied at the École nationale supérieure de l’aéronautique et de l’espace in Toulouse, France, and at the Mendeleev Russian University of Chemistry and Technology in Moscow. She graduated in Aeronautics Sciences (University ‘Federico II’, Naples) at the Accademia Aeronautica in Pozzuoli. Cristoforetti speaks Italian, English, German, French, and Russian and is studying Chinese.
In addition, Cristoforetti completed the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot training. She has logged over 500 flight hours and flown six types of military aircraft: SF-260, T-37, T-38, MB-339A, MB-339CD and AM-X.
In 2009 Samantha Cristoforetti was officially selected as an astronaut by the European Space Agency. In July 2012 the ESA announced her participation in the 2014 ISS mission documented in A BEAUTIFUL PLANET.
On 23 November 2014, Soyuz TMA-15M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan carrying Samantha Cristoforetti and two other astronauts. It successfully docked at the International Space Station, a permanent laboratory on low Earth orbit, roughly six hours later.
“Sam” quickly established herself as a model Futura cosmonaut with a quirky sense of humor. A coffee addict like her idol Kathryn Janeway of STAR TREK: VOYAGER, Cristoforetti was the first person ever to brew espresso in space. Her droll patriotism also emerged in her breathtaking photos of Italy and other parts of Planet Earth by night taken from the ISS cupola.
Like the present reporter who has always wanted to be an astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti spent a happy childhood in safe small places where she was often allowed to roam unsupervised. From an early age she also enjoyed studying science, reading sci fi books, traveling, learning new languages, and experiencing different cultures.
This reporter’s resulting zest for adventure and risk remained on the ground level. But it took Samantha to the very stars!
Samantha Cristoforetti began an outreach program called “Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut”, where students 8–12 years old were offered the chance to get fit during a nine-week program while Cristoforetti herself trained in space. She herself was glad to embrace the challenge of continuous learning and become a bona fide “space human” mainly through a day to day process of trial and error as in early childhood.
“Astronauts attract attention and curiosity”, Cristoforetti has observed. So much so that some of them even become movie stars like Sam!
Toni Myers’ A BEAUTIFUL PLANET from IMAX Entertainment featuring Samantha Cristoforetti and her International Space Station crewmates is now showing at the California Science Center located at 700 Exposition Park Drive in Los Angeles. Made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the film features stunning footage of Earth from the ISS. From space, Earth blazes at night with the electric intensity of human expansion — a direct visualization of our changing world and a hopeful look into the future of humanity.
For showtimes and additional information, please see