AstroLuca pride of Italian space programme-Mattarella

Italy major role in ISS construction, experiments

(ANSA) - Rome, November 6 - Luca Parmitano aka 'AstroLuca', the first European to command the International Space Station (ISS), is the pride of the Italian space programme, President Sergio Mattarella told him on a video link with the presidential palace Wednesday.
    Mattarella said Italy's part in the ISS, both in its construction and in its experiments, was a cause for "pride and gratitude".
    "I'm grateful to Italy for having a strong push towards space," replied Parmitano.
    He was speaking from the ISS's Columbus European module, built in Italy. The video hook-up was set up by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).
    Parmitano told Mattarella that the first of his four planned space walks with US colleague Andrew Morgan to modify the AMS antimatter seeker will take place on November 15.
    He said the walks would be the "most difficult ever attempted".