Born in Paternò (although he considers Catania to be his hometown), Italy, on 27 September 1976 Luca Parmitano is married with two daughters. He enjoys weight training, swimming, swimming, biking and running. Other interests include snowboarding, scuba diving, reading, listening and playing music.
Luca graduated from the Liceo Scientifico Statale 'Galileo Galilei' in Catania, Italy, in 1995.
In 1999, he completed a bachelor’s degree in political sciences at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, with a thesis on international law. In 2000, he graduated from the Italian Air Force Academy, in Pozzuoli, Italy.
Luca completed basic flight training with the US Air Force at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training in Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, US, in 2001. In 2002 he qualified on the A-11 at the 101st Operational Conversion Unit. In the same year, he completed the JCO/CAS course with the USAFE in Sembach, Germany.
In 2003, he qualified as Electronic Warfare Officer at the ReSTOGE in Pratica di Mare, Italy. He completed the Tactical Leadership Programme in Florennes, Belgium, in 2005.
In July 2009, Luca completed a master’s degree in experimental flight test engineering at the Institute Superieure de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace in Toulouse, France.
Luca was awarded a Silver Medal to the Aeronautical Valour by the President of the Italian Republic in 2007. He was recognised a ‘Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica’ by the President of the Italian Republic in 2013.
Following completion of undergraduate pilot training in 2001, Luca flew the AM-X aircraft with the 13th Group, 32nd Wing in Amendola, Italy, from 2001 to 2007. During that time, he obtained all aircraft qualifications, including Combat Ready, day/night air to air refuelling, Four Ship Leader and Mission Commander/Package Leader.
Within the 13th Group he served as Chief of Training Section and Commander of the 76th Flight. He was also the 32nd Wing Electronic Warfare Officer.
In 2007, he was selected by the Italian Air Force to become a test pilot. He trained as an Experimental Test Pilot at EPNER, the French test pilot school in Istres.
Luca is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Italian Air Force. He has logged more than 2000 hours flying time, is qualified on more than 20 types of military airplanes and helicopters, and has flown over 40 types of aircraft.
Luca was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009.
In February 2011, Luca was assigned as a flight engineer to Italian space agency ASI's first long-duration mission on the International Space Station. He was launched on a Soyuz launcher from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on 28 May 2013.
Luca spent 166 days in space, personally conducting over 20 experiments, and took part in two spacewalks and the docking of four spacecraft during his ‘Volare’ mission. He landed safely back on Earth on 11 November 2013.
Luca was the Ground IV (lead EVA communicator) during fellow ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s first spacewalk on his Proxima mission, which took place on 13 January 2017. The spacewalk was completed in 5 hours and 58 minutes.
During the annual press briefing on 18 January 2017, ESA Director General Jan Woerner confirmed Luca’s return to the International Space Station as part of Expedition 60/61 in 2019. The name and logo for this mission ‘Beyond’ were revealed at ESA’s ESRIN establishment in Italy on 27 September 2018.
During the second part of his Beyond mission, Luca will fulfill the role of International Space Station Commander – becoming the third European astronaut and first Italian to do so.