Roberto Vittori : biography
Roberto Vittori (Viterbo, October 15, 1964) is an Italian air force officer and an ESA astronaut. After graduating from the Italian Accademia Aeronautica in 1989, Vittori flew in the Italian Air Force. He then trained as a test pilot in the United States.
In 1998, Vittori was selected by the ESA to join the European Astronaut Corps. Since then, he has participated in three spaceflights: the Soyuz TM-34/33 and Soyuz TMA-6/5 taxi flights to the ISS, as well as STS-134, the penultimate mission of the American Space Shuttle Program. He was the final non-American to fly aboard the shuttle.
From April 25 to May 5, 2002, Vittori participated in the Soyuz TM-34 taxi-flight to the International Space Station (ISS), under an agreement between the Russian Rosaviakosmos, the Italian Space Agency, ASI and ESA. During his stay aboard ISS he worked alongside the resident crew overseeing four European scientific experiments. The mission successfully delivered a new "lifeboat" to the Station for use by resident crews in the event of an on-board emergency. Vittori returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TM-33.
He graduated from the Italian Air Force Academy in 1989 and trained in the U.S.. He flew the Tornado in the Italian Air Force before graduating in 1995 from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland. He served at the Italian Test Center as a project pilot for the development of the new European aircraft, the EF2000. Vittori flew Tornado GR1 aircraft with the 155th Squadron, 50th Wing, Piacenza (Italy) from 1991 to 1994. During that time, he qualified for day/night air-to-air refuelling as well as a formation leader. He has logged over 1700 hours in over 40 different aircraft including F-104, F-18, AMX, M-2000, G-222 and P-180.
In August 1998, after selection by ESA to join the European Astronaut Corps, he reported to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Following a period of training and evaluation, Vittori served in various technical assignments within the NASA Astronaut Office.
Vittori was a Mission Specialist for NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-134. He is the last non-US astronaut to fly on the Shuttle.
On April 15, 2005, Vittori participated in a second taxi-flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Soyuz TMA-6, returning to Earth on April 24 in the Soyuz TMA-5 capsule. He became the first European astronaut to visit the ISS twice and conducted experiments in upper limb fatigue in astronauts and germination of herbaceous plant seeds for possible space nutrition.
File:STS-134 Roberto Vittori Feb10.jpg|Vittori participates in training exercises for the STS-134 mission. File:Vittori Rear T-38.jpg|Vittori in the rear station of a NASA T-38 trainer jet. File:ISS-27 STS-134 Paolo Nespoli and Roberto Vittori.jpg|Vittori (right) with fellow ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli aboard the ISS.
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