Italian Tour for STS-120/Esperia Shuttle Mission crew: ENNEBI celebrates them in Livorno

The crew of the STS-120/Esperia mission embarked on an eleven-days tour of Italy between January 14 and January 25, 2008. From Turin to Milan, from Modena to Pisa, through Livorno, Viterbo an finally Rome, the astronauts met authorities (among which Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, the President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano and the Pope), citizens and the press and recall their experience onboard the International Space Station.

In addition to Paolo Nespoli, the Italian ESA astronaut (the first one on the left in the first picture below), the crew includes Commander Pamela Melroy and NASA astronauts Clayton Anderson, Scott Parazynski, Doug Wheelock, Stephanie Wilson, George Zamka.

On January 17, they headed towards central Italy, stopping at the Ferrari factory in Modena, passing through Pisa and arriving in Livorno at the end of the day. Livorno is seat to the Paratroopers Brigade of which Paolo Nespoli was a member, that the crew visited on Friday morning, January 18.

In fact, Nespoli was drafted by the Italian army in 1977 and became a non-commissioned officer working as a parachute instructor at the Scuola Militare di Paracadutismo of Pisa. In 1980, he joined the IX Btg d’Assalto “Col Moschin” of Livorno where he became a Special Forces operator.

In that occasion, Alessandro Bettarini and Luciano Nincheri rewarded the italian astronauts with the ENNEBI watch IX Reggimento “Col Moschin”, and the other members of the crew with a special golden medal of Ennebi.

The astronauts kept on visiting the rest of Italy and met the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, the President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano and the Pope. They travelled back to Houston on Friday morning, January 25.

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