The only flaw in this cosplay is the hair, joked European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
The Italian astronaut posed on the International Space Station in much the same way as Sandra Bullock, who visited the orbital complex fictionally in the 2013 film “Gravity.” Cristoforetti wore a similar outfit to Bullock, who played fictional NASA astronaut Ryan Stone on an exciting adventure sparked by a cloud of space debris that hit Stone’s space shuttle onscreen.
“Hey, Dr. Stone! Quick question for you. How did you keep your hair in place? #AskingForAFriend“, said Cristoforetti in his Tweeter (opens in a new tab) with the image, posted June 19 following a screening of the sci-fi adventure on the ISS.
Related: Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti makes history with the 1st TikTok from the International Space Station
Her cosplay was so intricate, in fact, that it took at least seven years to complete, as fellow former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared on Twitter. Kelly attempted to snap a photo of Cristoforetti doing the same pose during his year-long stint in 2014-15, but lost that chance due to a fluke.
“Here is the original failed photo”, Kelly wrote on Twitter (opens in a new tab) with the undated attempt during his mission, which shows Bullock perfectly on screen – but completely misses Cristoforetti.
He called the “failure” one of the biggest regrets of his last space mission, noting that he waited too late to grab the camera after Cristoforetti changed into his sports gear, presumably in way to do something else. (Astronauts have very tight schedules in space to make the most of their time there, although NASA grants them time off for mental health reasons.)
“So disappointed then, but all good now. Thank you, Samantha,” Kelly said on June 19. (Fortunately, Cristoforetti did another great cosplay during this time as the “Star Trek” astronaut, though.)
The long gap between spaceflight opportunities is not unusual. ISS astronauts need about two to two and a half years of mission training before embarking on a long-duration mission, which typically lasts about six months. It also takes about a day of Earth time to recover for every day in space.
Together, these delays mean that at best it could be a gap of 3 to 3.5 years between individual astronaut missions. This number, however, does not take into account the limited number of seats on spacecraft available to get people into orbit, which can reduce flight opportunities.
The frequency of astronaut flights also depends on their home space agency’s contribution to the ISS agreement; fortunately for Cristoforetti, the European Space Agency (ESA) is among the biggest contributors after NASA and Russia.
Cristoforetti also took some time between space visits to command a nearly two-week underwater mission known as NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) 23 in June 2019, which required its own training cycle and recovery.
Considering all of these factors, Cristoforetti’s return to space on Expedition 67 (which is ongoing) happened seven years after he completed his first space stay of nearly 200 days in 2014- 15 with expeditions 42 and 43.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Espacedotcom and on Facebook.