Samantha Cristoforetti is back on Earth after a six-month stay on the International Space Station, and she carries a host of superlatives with her. At 11:04 a.m. ET on June 6, the 38-year-old Italian astronaut broke the record for the longest space mission ever completed by a woman. Having landed on June 11, she's beaten that benchmark by about five days.

Cristoforetti's flight is also the longest mission taken by any European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, male or female, which is a record she broke by about a week. Meanwhile, she leaves behind crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko to complete the remaining portion of their year-long mission.

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Cristoforetti has a long way to go if she wants to beat the other female record -- the record for total time spent in space over multiple missions -- because American astronaut Peggy Whitson has logged 376 days in space and has another mission forthcoming.

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When ranked among all astronauts, Cristoforetti's time on ISS sounds considerably less impressive -- she now ranks just 74th overall. But out of 538 astronauts to orbit the planet -- and just 59 women total -- it's not too shabby at all.

In completing her scientific duties on board, Cristoforetti snuck in yet another first: She and NASA's Terry Virts used the airlock in an experiment, which had never been done before.

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And Cristoforetti did more than pass a few impressive benchmarks. She's spent her time in space engaging with the public, using her free time to tweet, take pictures and create videos. In the style of retired Canadian astronaut and social media darling Chris Hadfield, Cristoforetti seemed to delight in sharing the joy of spaceflight with those left back on Earth.

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She showed viewers at home how to cook with astronaut supplies, gave us tours of her daily life on ISS, and even sang and told stories in an impressive smattering of languages.

Astronauts like Cristoforetti are giving us an exciting glimpse of what's possible for women as space programs become more diverse. And Cristoforetti certainly went above and beyond her duty, showing just how much astronauts can share with the rest of us in the digital age.

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