In 2001 Donatella is among the thousands of applicants from all over Europe who undergo selections to join the European Astronaut Corps of ESA (European Space Agency). Donatella makes it to the final stages, being among the five women and ten men candidates remained from the whole selection process. However a fellow candidate is selected as astronaut.
Donatella continues with her passion for flight and inspires other women to reach for the stars: in 2008 she launches Flydonna . Among the partecipants of a Flydonna edition is an Italian Airforce pilot, Samantha Cristoforetti. In 2009 Samantha becomes the first Italian female astronaut; in 2014 she's assigned to the ASI long-duration mission 'Futura' on board the International Space Station as an ESA astronaut. Upon her return with countless awards, honors and female world record for longest uninterrupted mission in space (200 days), Cristoforetti is guest of honor at Flydonna.