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[b]SpaceX Crew-4, Minerva mission patch, 2022[/b]
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (IT) is scheduled to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, on its fourth crewed operational flight called Crew-4, scheduled for launch in April 2022. She will fly with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Jessica Watkins and Robert Hines.
The name of Samantha’s second mission to the International Space Station is 'Minerva'. Inspired by the Roman goddess of wisdom, the handicrafts and the arts, this name is a homage to the competence and sophisticated craftmanship of the men and women all over the world who make human spaceflight possible. The goddess Minerva also embodies the toughness and discipline that is required of us, and the wisdom we wish to demonstrate, as we consolidate and expand human presence in space.
Minerva is often depicted with her sacred owl, a key feature of Samantha’s mission patch, designed by ESA graphic designer Karen Oldenburg. The eye of the owl is a yellow Moon, casting a white glow on a round Earth. Its beak hints at the shape of the International Space Station, with its characteristic solar panels. The two lines also symbolise Samantha’s two missions to space. Waves of ever darker blue make up the body of the owl and encourage us to rise to the challenge and move farther into deep space. The owl looks to the right, to the future of space exploration and adventure off Earth for our planet.
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