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Italys first female astronaut arrives at space station: NASA
Samantha Cristoforetti, along with Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and American astronaut Terry Virts, arrived at the orbiting space lab on the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft at 0249 GMT Monday, NASA said. They are to stay at the space station until May 2015. Their voyage will mean major food upgrades for the astronauts aboard, with nearly a kilo of caviar in their baggage and an espresso machine. "There will be 15 boxes of 30 grammes each of caviar, but also apples, oranges, tomatoes and 140 doses of freeze dried milk and black tea without sugar," a space station official was quoted as saying by Russian press agency TASS. Astronauts on the station will also finally be able to enjoy a decent brew thanks to the 20-kilogramme machine designed by famed Italian coffee makers Lavazza and engineering firm Argotec, which specialises in making space food. Cristoforetti, 37, who is also a captain in the Italian air force, "Will be not only the first female astronaut from Italy to go into space, but also the very first astronaut in the history of the conquest of space to savour an authentic Italian espresso in orbit," the two companies said in a statement. A team of astronauts is always aboard, with stays of up to six months. NASA depends entirely on Russia to send its astronauts to the ISS, which costs the United States $70 million per person in Soyuz rockets.

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