Maurizio Cheli (born 4 May 1959) is an Italian air force officer, a European Space Agency astronaut and a veteran of one NASA space shuttle mission. He trained with the United States Air Force and was selected as an astronaut candidate by the European Space Agency in 1992. He holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Italian Air Force. He flew aboard STS-75 in 1996 as a mission specialist.
The European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,000 employees. ESA's space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana.