Spectacular Italy: Images from Space

On Sunday, November 23, Samantha Cristoforetti will become the first Italian woman to fly into space.

Selected as a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut in May 2009, Cristoforetti, who is 37 years old, has been assigned to a joint ESA/Italian Space Agency (ASI) mission aboard the International Space Station, to be launched on a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this Sunday at 10:01 pm Italy time. She will be a Flight Engineer for Expedition 42 and 43 between December 2014 and May 2015. Her mission is called Futura. Samantha is also a Captain in the Italian Air Force.

To celebrate Samantha’s accomplishments, we are featuring a slideshow of spectacular images of Italy as seen from space. The photos were taken by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst on board the International Space Station. The two astronauts returned to Earth November 10, after 166 days in space.  

You can follow Samantha's adventures in space on her Twitter account