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Italian to become oldest European woman in space

'I love to be in constant motion', says 72-year-old

03 August, 18:12
Italian to become oldest European woman in space (ANSA) - Rome, August 3 - For an Italian woman it is the realisation of a lifelong dream. Gloria Coco, a 72-year-old Rome actress, will soon become the oldest woman in Europe to take part in a space flight.

Coco has completed three training courses and now the ''space granny'' is preparing for her final countdown which is expected in a few months. Initially planned for spring, the takeoff is now due to take place later in the year at the NASA Space Center in Houston.

Coco, who was born in Romania but lives in Rome, has a passion for adventure and has competed in survival races and firewalks.

''I have always been attracted by unusual things,'' Coco said. ''I love adventure very much and I love to be in constant motion, I never stop''.

''As soon as I heard about this space flight I called, I qualified and I told them that I was 70 years old. They accepted me immediately''. The project is organised by Spaceland, the first non-government space agency recognised by the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency and the flight will focus on scientific research.

''We will test the reactions of her brain in various states of gravity,'' said Carlo Viberti, president of Spaceland.

''The results will help doctors and scholars in research against Alzheimer's (disease)''. Coco's training included diving, medical tests and orientation exercises.

''We were in Sardinia where I took part in two training sessions,'' she said. ''The first was underwater and one in a cave to check that I did not suffer from claustrophobia. But above all, I had to submit to a very rigorous medical check at the (Italian National Olympic Committee) Coni centre, to ensure that I could participate in the mission''.

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