Italian ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano will return to Earth 6 February 2020, following his second long-duration mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

Luca's mission – known as 'Beyond' – began 20 July 2019, exactly 50 years after the first lunar landing. On this date, Luca was launched to the Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft alongside Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan.

During Beyond, Luca supported over 50 European experiments in orbit. These included remotely operating a rover in the Netherlands to collect rock samples as instructed by scientists in Germany, and completing four complex spacewalks to repair the cosmic-ray-detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02. He also supported numerous international experiments and became the third European and first ever Italian commander of the International Space Station.

Science and research completed during Luca's mission will help pave the way for farther exploration as ESA looks beyond the International Space Station to the Moon and Mars.

Credit: European Space Agency