How it feels to be out of this world: chat with an astronaut this week

Australian Institute of Physics, Media releases
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For the Australian Institute of Physics

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli remembers best the spectacular view of Earth and the amazing feeling of weightlessness from his two visits to the International Space Station (ISS).

“I really felt different. I felt I was very light and I was flying around,” he says. “It took about four or five weeks before I could shed my terrestrial nature. I felt like every day I was discovering something new.”

Mr Nespoli is in Adelaide for a couple of days, and tomorrow night (Wednesday 17 April) will give a free public lecture “Six months out of this world” about his experiences.

As a child growing up in a little town in northern Italy, he dreamed of travelling into space after seeing pictures of the American astronauts on the Moon.

And his dream gradually became reality with a degree in aerospace engineering and induction into the European Space Agency (ESA) program. Paolo is a professional engineer, a private pilot, and an advanced scuba and nitrox diver as well as an astronaut.

On his first trip to the ISS in late 2007, Paolo spent two weeks directing the installation of Node-2, a major building block essential for further expansion of the space station. Then, at the end of 2010 he began a stint of more than five months as flight engineer on the ISS. He remains an active ESA astronaut with the chance to go back into space.

Paolo Nespoli is giving a free public lecture from 6 pm – 7.30 pm on Wednesday 17 April in the Bragg lecture theatre at the University of Adelaide.

The lecture is sponsored by the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund together with the Australian Institute of Physics South Australian Branch and the National Space Camp.

Paolo is in South Australia to interact with students at the National Space Camp, an annual program that provides Year 11 students with a stimulating and rewarding educational experience that focuses them on careers in science and engineering.

Paolo Nespoli is available for interview in Adelaide on Tuesday and Wednesday, before heading to Melbourne.

More details on Paolo’s talk at

For interviews, contact Margie Beilharz, Science in Public, on 0415 448 065

And for more on the South Australian Space School or the National Space Camp, contact Olivia Samardzic on 0410 575 855 or

For the Australian Institute of Physics