The “ambassador” of the 2014 six-month Italian presidency of the Council of the EU is Luca Parmitano, European Space Agency astronaut.
The Chief of military aeronautics, after having reached over 2,000 flying hours and having flown 40 different types of aircraft, in February 2011 was hired as flight engineer for the first long-term mission of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) on the International Space Station.
On 29 May 2013, after two years of dedicated training and preparation, Parmitano took off to the space with Russian Chief Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. He spent 166 days aboard the space shuttle, where he carried out over 20 experiments, took part in two spacewalks and to the docking and berthing of four spacecraft. He has been the only Italian astronaut to perform these activities and to take the Italian flag outside the International Space Station.
Credits: Esa, Nasa
Born in Paternò (in the province of Catania), Luca Parmitano reached for the stars thanks to his skills and determination. A dream that would have never come true without Europe and the European Space Agency which selected him in 2009. Luca is an example of Italian talent and expertise at a global level; he embodies the positive values of being European, the same values the Italian Presidency of the EU Council intends to promote and convey during the semester.