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Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti’s intimate account of her first journey to the International Space Station, to which she returns in 2022, as commander of Expedition 68a—only the fourth woman to command the ISS, praised by Scott Kelly for its “incredible detail and great writing.”

Two hundred days orbiting Earth on the International Space Station. Five years working and training with the aerospace community across the world. A lifetime of choices leading to the stars. These are the components of Samantha Cristoforetti’s dream, a dream she invites us to share in this intimate account of an astronaut’s journey to space. She views the triumphs and disappointments of that journey with a poet’s eye and a philosopher’s mind—and an engineer’s gift for detail that brings each experience into sharp focus.
With Cristoforetti as our guide, we’re called to become “apprentice astronauts” and experience the world anew through the visor of a space suit’s helmet. Bonding with crew members to tackle challenges as a team, lifting off from the launchpad in a roar of engines, discovering the strange wonders of weightlessness, seeing Earth with a fresh perspective after a bittersweet return to solid ground . . . all these moments and more reveal what it really takes to escape our planet’s gravity in pursuit of a goal.

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Review quotes
“After publishing a memoir, the Itialian astronaut will return to the International Space Station next year as its commander.”The Wall Street Journal

“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

“From the mundane to the sublime in a second . . . full of illuminating observations from what Cristoforetti calls the ‘cosmic perspective.’”The Guardian

“An incredible odyssey.”Financial Times

“A detailed, fascinating [book] on what it’s like to train for, and fly, a mission to the space station.”Space Review

“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, NASA astronaut and author of Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery

“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

“Samantha Cristoforetti is remarkable . . . a brilliant book.”—Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2

“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
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
August 31, 2021