Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut
‘An incredible odyssey’ Financial Times
‘Today I woke up on Earth. And I will fall asleep in space’
In space the sun rises and sets 16 times a day. You fly over every sea, every mountain and desert, every city and every port. The most ordinary things — eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth or cutting your hair — have to be relearned, until they become familiar again. This is the story of Samantha Cristoforetti’s incredible journey to becoming an astronaut, and her journey beyond Earth.
Her voyage as an apprentice astronaut began when she was in her early thirties: five years of intense training around the world, from Houston to Japan to the legendary Star City in Russia. Countless hours spent in centrifuges, spaceship simulators and under water for spacewalk practice. Then, one day, a rocket was waiting for her on the launch pad. And after eight minutes of wild ascent, she was on orbit, crunched up with her two crewmates in a tiny spaceship that took them to the International Space Station.
With honesty and warmth, Cristoforetti chronicles the two hundred days she spent on the ISS, the joys and challenges of being in an extraordinary place, from the sublime sight of seeing Earth for the first time to more unusual concerns, such as mastering the art of floating. How do you find your bearings when there is no up and down? What is it like to run in weightlessness? And how do you cook in space?
This is an enthralling, inspiring and surprisingly down-to-earth story about what it really takes to pursue your dreams.
Lately, I have become as fascinated by the way that humans relate to science and the natural world, as I am to the scientific breakthroughs themselves. . . So, this diary of what it is like to do through astronaut training for a 200-day mission to the International Space Station crossed my desk at exactly the right time. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti writes with honesty. Her prose is simple and down to Earth, which increased my empathy for her story -- Stuart Clark * BBC Science Focus Books of the Year * Incredible detail and great writing. I do take exception with the title because when I arrived on ISS, Samantha was far from an apprentice astronaut -- Scott Kelly, author of Endurance Cristoforetti rocks. . . being awesome is part of the job. . . She belongs to a new category of astronauts who are just as adept at posting a witty Facebook post as they are at performing a science experiment in minimal gravity * Wired * An enthralling book. . . Many of us are dreaming of an escape from Earth at present - and Samantha Cristoforetti's absorbing tale of becoming an astronaut and venturing into space offers just that. . . She's a gifted writer -- Gwendolyn Smith * Mail on Sunday * Fantastic. . . for anyone who has any interest in space exploration whatsoever -- Robin Ince Samantha Cristoforetti is remarkable. . . a brilliant book -- Jeremy Vine * BBC Radio 2 * From the mundane to the sublime in a second. . . full of illuminating observations from what Cristoforetti calls the 'cosmic perspective ' * Guardian * An incredible odyssey * Financial Times *
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