Samantha Cristoforetti is a captain in the Italian air force and was selected to be an astronaut by the European Space Agency in 2009.
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What will Italy's first female astronaut be doing?

Samantha Cristoforetti is spending almost six months on the International Space Station (ISS).

Her two crewmates, Russian Anton Shkaplerov and American Terry Virts, blasted off on the Soyuz spacecraft on Sunday night.

She will conduct experiments for scientists back on Earth.

Rodents are already on board and a 3-D printer is a new addition to equipment for this trip.

The hope is that astronauts could generate their own equipment and parts for the ISS as maintenance takes place.

Go to next video: 15 secs: First Italian woman at ISS