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Italy’s First Woman in Space Is About to Break Two Spaceflight Records on Her First Trip, Explains Space Toilets

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti already made history as Italy’s first woman in space, but a little unexpected time aboard the ISS is about to make her the holder of some impressive spaceflight records.

Cristoforetti was originally scheduled to return to the little blue dot we call home on May 13-14, but that has been delayed to a June 11-13 timeframe due to the crash of Russia’s Progress resupply spacecraft. While that means those waiting back on Earth to welcome Cristoforetti home will have to hang on a bit longer, it’ll also give Cristoforetti enough time aboard the ISS to become Italy’s most experienced space traveler as well as set the record for the longest space mission by a woman ever.

For the Italian record, Cristoforetti will beat out Paolo Nespoli, who’s spent 174 days in space aboard two separate missions, with the 30 additional days that will put her mission time in the 199- to 201-day range. That’ll also be just enough to top American astronaut Sunita Williams’ record 194 days in space in a single outing—not bad for Cristoforetti’s first mission.

No doubt the first space espresso machine has helped keep Christoforetti energized to do some record breaking, but when you’re on a (space) road trip that long, holding it isn’t an option no matter how good time you’re making. You’re going to need to use the little astronaut’s room, so let Cristoforetti, a space toilet expert by now, explain how it works:

(via AmericaSpace)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.