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Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti makes history with 1st TikTok from International Space Station

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shares the first TikTok video from the International Space Station as she begins a six-month mission in orbit on May 5, 2022.
European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shares the first TikTok video from the International Space Station as she begins a six-month mission in orbit on May 5, 2022. (Image credit: Samantha Cristoforetti/European Space Agency via TikTok)

Samantha Cristoforetti has taken TikTok to new heights.

The European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut posted a video to the social media platform from the International Space Station on Thursday (May 5), becoming the first-ever TikToker in the final frontier. (Or perhaps one of her associates posted it for her on Earth; either way, its in-space elements make it a first.)

Cristoforetti is part of SpaceX's Crew-4 mission, which arrived at the orbiting lab on April 27 for a six-month stay. In the 88-second TikTok video, she takes viewers through Crew-4's launch, introducing them to the mission's two zero-g indicators, a plush turtle named Zippy and a stuffed monkey called Etta. 

Related: Amazing photos of SpaceX's Crew-4 launch

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"Etta is short for 'scimmietta', which is Italian for 'little monkey,' of course," Cristoforetti says in the video. (And it's not just any little monkey; Etta was the first plush toy that Cristoforetti bought for her daughter, Kelsey.)

Cristoforetti also says that Crew-4's first few days aboard the station were very busy, as the astronauts sought to learn all they could from the soon-to-depart Crew-3 team. Crew-3 left the station on Thursday (May 5) and splashed down off the Florida coast a day later.

"What questions do you have about life on the space station?" she asks her audience toward the end of the video, as she floats in front of one of the orbiting lab's windows. "Tell me in the comments. And remember: Follow me to boldly go where no TikToker has gone before."

Cristoforetti's TikTok trailblazing is no surprise; ESA officials noted before Crew-4's launch that she's the first professional astronaut ever on the platform, "bringing space content and European research to a wider audience." Cristoforetti had already posted a number of space-explainer videos on TikTok, but Thursday's was the first one she actually filmed in the final frontier.

Crew-4's launch kicked off Cristoforetti's second spaceflight; she previously lived aboard the space station from November 2014 to June 2015. There was no TikTok back then, by the way; the platform was first released in 2016. 

The new video may be a TikTok first, but it's far from the first social-media share of any sort from space. Many astronauts, including Cristoforetti, chronicle their orbital experiences in real time via Twitter.

The first astronaut to use Twitter in space was NASA astronaut Michael Massimino, who wrote the first space tweet during the STS-125 Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission in May 2009.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.  

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Mike Wall
Mike Wall

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.