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Recent blog posts:


New adventures for old friends

15 photos

Even the most versed adventure-seekers are guaranteed to get adrenaline rush with us! After the breathtaking flight on L-39 our guest from Hong Kong returned to Russia to experience the sensations of extra vehicular activity, which can only be possible with the unique Egress-2 simulator at GCTC in Starcity.


Baikonur tour – Soyuz MS-10 launch

56 photos

In October we traditionally went to Baikonur to see of to space Soyuz MS-10 crew. For the first time in 35 years there arouse off-nominal situation 122 seconds after the launch and due to the booster failure the spacecraft was not orbited but the more important is that thanks to the genius engineering of Soyuz the cosmonauts were saved. All this united our big international team even more but we’d better never face such situations again. Find our detailed photo report and get inspired.


Space program for our Chinese guests

66 photos

A few days ago our company arranged a complex training program for Chinese guests in GCTC. The schedule was very busy, our guests studied Soyuz spacecraft design and layout, put on Sokol spacesuits, tried to cook real space food with the help of GCTC specialized facility, performed a spacewalk wearing Orlan spacesuits, worked inside ISS module and besides had a seties of theoretical sessions dedicated to space topics.


Baikonur tour – Progress MS-09

36 photos

Together with a group of space enthusiasts once again we visited Baikonur launchsite. This time we went there to observe the launch of Progress MS-09 cargo vehicle that took place on July 10.


World Cup in the Skies

83 photos

This year Russia hosts World Cup attracting lots of tourists from all over the world to our country. As it is commonly known Russia is one of the leading aerospace countries thus jet trainer flight with higher aerobatics in Russia is a perfect adventure for extreme enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable experience.

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Paolo Angelo NESPOLI

ESA Astronaut, Italy


Born on April 6, 1957 in Milan, Italy.


In 1988 Nespoli received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York, USA.

In 1989 he received a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the same University. In 1990 Nespoli received a Bachelor of Science in engineering mechanics.



Has licenses of a private pilot and a skin-diver.


In 1977 upon graduation from the Paolo Frisi lyceum in Milan he was drafted by the Italian Army and worked as a parachute instructor at the Scuola Militare di Paracadutismo of Pisa and since 1980 he worked as a Special Forces operator of the 9 Btg d’Assalto «Col Moschin» of Livorno.

In 1982-1984 Nespoli was assigned to the Italian contingent of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon. After his return to Italy, he was appointed an officer and continued service.

Having graduated from the University and retied from the army as a major in 1987, he returned to Italy to work as a design engineer for Proel Tecnologie in Florence. Nespoli conducted mechanical analysis and participated in tests of the Electron Gun Assemblies for the Italian Tethered Satellite System TSS.

In 1991, he joined ESA’s European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany. He took part in support of the astronaut training and in 1995 was sent on a mission to Noordwijk and led a group responsible for preparation of personal computers used on the Mir Space Station.

In 1996 Nespoli was reported to Johnson Space Center (NASA) where he took part in the training preparation for the ISS crews.

In July 1998 the Italian Space Agency (ASI) selected Paolo Nespoli as an astronaut candidate, and on August 1, 1998 he was enlisted in ESA’s European Astronaut Corps (the 3-rd selection). In August 1998 he began general space training (GST) at Johnson Space Center and in 2000 he completed a course of general space training and was qualified as a mission specialist. Besides, in July 2001 Nespoli completed training in the Shuttle robotics arm control and in September 2003 — in the extravehicular activity.

On June 19, 2006 he was as signed to STS-120 crew.

Nespoli performed his first space flight from October 23 to November 7, 2007 as the Discovery Orbiter mission specialist under STS-120 program. The main mission task was the delivery of the Italian-built Node Harmony to the International Space Station, relocation of the Р6 Solar Array to its nominal place and also rotation of the Station crew flight engineer-2. The mission duration was 15 days, 2 hours and 23 minutes.

On November 21, 2008 by NASA decision (press release №08-306) he was assigned as a flight engineer in the ISS-24 Expedition backup crew and the ISS-26 Expedition prime crew. On October 7, 2009 his assignment was confirmed by NASA once more (press release №09-233).

On May 25-26, 2010 at the Cosmonaut Training Center Nespoli together with Dmitri Kondratiev and Catherine Coleman passed the preflight examinations with marks «5» and «4.8».

On June 14, 2010 by decision of the State Committee he was approved as flight engineer-1 of the Soyuz TMA-19 backup crew.

At the Soyuz TMA-19 TV launch on June 16, 2010 he was the vehicle flight engineer backup.

On November 24, 2010, at the Cosmonaut Training Center, together with Dmitri Kondratiev and Catherine Coleman, he passed the pre-flight examination training session in the ISS Russian Segment with excellent grade. On November 25, 2010 the crew passed an examination training session in the simulator of Soyuz TMA spacecraft.

On November 26, 2010 he was approved by Interagency Commission as the flight engineer of the main crew of Soyuz TMA-20. On December 14, 2010, at a meeting of the State Commission at the Baikonur launch site he was approved as the flight engineer of the main crew of Soyuz TMA-20.

He made his second spaceflight on December 15, 2010 through May 24, 2011 as the flight engineer of Soyuz TMA-20, flight engineer of ISS-26/27 together with Dmitri Kondratiev and Catherine Coleman. The mission duration was 159 days 8 hours and 17 minutes.

September 15 through 28, 2013 on Sardinia island (Italy) he took part in survival training in caves in order to acquire skills of teamwork under extreme conditions together with astronauts Michael Barratt, Jack Fischer, Jeremy Hansen, Satoshi Furukawa and cosmonaut Alexi Ovchinin. Prior to the survival training exercise the participants had received some preparatory training which included theoretical and practical sessions in the caves, a rock climbing course and exercises in handling climbing equipment, lectures on cartography and direction finding, work with the equipment needed to carry out the experimental science program.

On June 25, 2015 he began training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center as a member of the main crew of ISS-52/53 together with Fedor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer.

On August 6, 2015, his assignment to the main crew of Expedition ISS-52/53 was confirmed by NASA press release 15-161.

On January 28, 2016, at the Cosmonaut Training Center, together with Fedor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer he underwent training in actions in case of emergency landing in marshy and wooded country in winter.