This past November, European Space Agency Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti was newly back on Earth, getting used to life on our planet after 199 days and 16 hours in space — a trip that marked the longest single spaceflight by a woman and the longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut.
That month Cristoforetti spoke at TEDxESA, sharing what that record-setting trip was like, from her work researching how organisms are affected by life in space, to what it’s like to be an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS).
Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, worked on many ISS experiments while in space, from TripeLux, a study monitoring the effect of space on rat, mussel and bacteria cells, to Skin-B, looking at functioning of human skin in microgravity, to T-Cell Activation in Aging, an investigation into immune function in space flight and on the ground. She helped retrieve supplies from SpaceX’s Dragon and even was the first astronaut to drink espresso brewed in space, from the newly-designed ISSpresso machine.
“Towards the end [of the mission], from Italy we got an espresso machine,” Cristoforetti says. “Our crew had the privilege of being the first ones to brew a real espresso in space and they even sent us real zero-gravity coffee cups, so I could enjoy my cup in style.”
To learn more about Cristoforetti’s time in space, watch her whole talk below: