Flight Engineer of Soyuz TMA
Lieutenant Colonel in the Italian Air Force,
ESA astronaut, Italy
DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: October 15, 1964, Viterbo, Italy.
EDUCATION: Graduated from the Italian Air Force Academy
in 1989. Completed basic training with the US Air Force
at Reese Air Force Base in Texas, US, in 1990. Graduated
from the US Navy Test Pilot School in 1996. Completed the
Italian Air Force's Accident Prevention course (Guidonia
A.F.B., Italy) and Accident Investigation course (Kirtland
A.F.B., New Mexico, US) between 1996 and 1997.
FAMILY STATUS: married to Valeria Vittori, born Nardi,
has three children.
AWARDS AND RANKS: Academic award for completion of training
at Reese Air Base, Texas. Honorary student of the Test
Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. Honorary student
of the US Flight Safety School, Kirtland Air Force Base,
New Mexico. Long Service medal from Italian Air Force (1997).
HOBBIES: soccer, jogging, swimming, reading.
WORK EXPERIENCE: From 1991 to 1994 he flew Tornado GR-1
aircraft as a member of squadron 155, regiment 50, Piacenza,
Italy. During that period he completed training on in-flight
refueling both during daytime and at night and was assigned
to be a formation leader.
In 1995 he completed his training in US Air Force test
pilot school. Then, till 1998, he served in the Italian
Test Center as a pilot involved in the development of a
new European airplane Euro fighter 2000. From 1996 to 1998
he was a national representative in the research and development
program for air-to-air missiles.
In 1997 he enrolled in US Air Force flight safety school
and during the period of 1997 to 1998 he served as a regimental
flight safety officer at the Italian Flight Center. In
addition to this, he taught aerodynamics within the framework
of the Italian Air Force course on Accident Investigation.
He has logged more than 2000 hours in different aircraft,
including F-104, GR-1 Tornado, F-18, AMX, M-2000, G-222
In July 1998 he was selected as an astronaut by the Italian
Space Agency (ASI) in cooperation with ESA, and one month
later he joined the European Astronaut Corps.
1998 he was relocated to NASA's Johnson Space Center in
Houston, Texas for participation in a training program
for Shuttle and ISS missions, where he was trained as a
In March 2001 he was qualified as operator of Shuttle manipulator
and in June same year he was also qualified as operator
of the ISS-installed Canadarm manipulator in Canada.
In August 2001 he arrived at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training
Center to start his training as Flight Engineer of the
Soyuz TM-34 Prime Crew under the third Russian Visiting
Crew ISS Program.
From April 25 through May 5, 2002 he performed his first
space flight as the spacecraft Flight Engineer together
with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gudzenko as the spacecraft
Commander and Mark Shuttleworth from the Republic of South
Africa as the space flight participant. The crew was launched
onboard the Soyuz TM-34 spacecraft and returned to Earch
by the Descent Module of the Soyuz TM-33 spacecraft. The
main goal of that mission was the scheduled change of the
Soyuz-TM rescue vehicle. During his stay aboard the ISS
he had conducted scientific experiments and investigations
under the European Program ‘Marko Polo’. The flight duration
was 9 days 21 hours 25 minutes and 18 seconds.
In August 2004 he began his training for the next space
flight as Flight Engineer of the Soyuz TMA-6 transport
spacecraft Prime Crew under the eighth Russian Visiting
Crew ISS Program at the CTC after Yu.A. Gagarin.
Based on materials from Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center