Paolo Nespoli (’88, ’89) Makes Third Trip into Orbit


Paolo Nespoli (left), pictured here in 2014 with Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan and fellow astronauts Charles Camarda and Lee Morin, will travel on his third mission to the International Space Station on July 28.

Paolo Nespoli was always a hard-driving person. A native of Milan, he had come to the U.S. to attend what was then known affectionately as Poly after spending almost a decade in the Italian military, and thanks to intensive summer courses and extreme focus, he was able to earn both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in aerospace engineering within only four years of his arrival.

In 2007 he proved he was not only hard-driving, but high-flying. That year, as a mission specialist with the Italian Space Agency, he flew on Space Shuttle Mission STS-120, which delivered and installed an Italian-built module dubbed the Harmony Node 2 to the International Space Station (ISS), allowing European and Japanese labs to be added to the burgeoning facility.

In late 2010 Nespoli embarked on a second mission to the ISS. While STS-120 had taken him into space for just two weeks, the MagISStra mission, as it was called, lasted 159 days. Nespoli, serving as flight engineer, performed various scientific experiments and technology demonstrations and helped dock two cargo craft (Europe’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle and Japan’s second HII Transfer Vehicle) before returning to Earth on May 24, 2011.

Now, on July 28, Nespoli will set forth on his third mission to the ISS. Launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, he and crewmates Randy Bresnik and Sergey Ryazanskiy will spend more than four months together at the orbital complex, conducting experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science before returning to Earth in December.

The entire Tandon community wishes him exciting travels, enlightening experiments, and a safe homecoming, and we thank him for proving that our graduates can — very literally — reach for the stars.

To watch the ISS launch live and celebrate Paolo Nespoli's third mission on Friday, July 28, visit NASA Live.