European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will be the first woman from Europe to lead an expedition to the International Space Station. The three astronauts are slated to travel to the ISS in 2022, the European Space Agency announced. The principal decision that Cristoforetti will lead the next, 68th expedition to the ISS, was made on May 19.

Samantha Cristoforetti will be the first European to lead the expedition. Prior to that, only four astronauts from the European Space Agency were in this position, and they were all men.

European Space Agency Seeks New Astronauts for the First Time in 11 Years
Future astronauts can apply on the ESA Career website. After that, a six-stage selection process will begin, which is expected to end in October 2022.

This is the second flight to the ISS for Cristoforetti. In 2014-2015, she was already at the station as part of the 42nd and 43rd Expeditions, having spent a total of 199 days there, setting the record for the longest continuous stay on the ISS.

The expedition is due to travel to the ISS in the fourth quarter of 2021 on the Crew Dragon, the SpaceX spacecraft of businessman Elon Musk. This will be the fourth flight to the ISS for this vehicle.

In addition to Cristoforetti, the crew will include two NASA astronauts, as well as another international astronaut, whose name has not yet been announced.

44-year-old Samantha Cristoforetti is the third female astronaut at the European Space Agency and the first female astronaut of the Italian Space Agency where she is from. She began her career as an astronaut in 2009 after serving in the Italian Air Force.