Türkiye’s Minister of Industry and Technology hailed the return on Monday of the country’s first astronaut from a mission to the International Space Station (ISS), saying a new chapter in space science and technologies has opened for the nation.
Azernews reports, citing Anadolu Agency.
At Alper Gezeravci’s arrival ceremony in the capital Ankara, Mehmet Fatih Kacir said his space mission was just the beginning.
“Within the framework of the mission, our astronaut successfully completed 13 scientific experiments prepared by Turkish scientists in microgravity conditions in the laboratory infrastructure of the International Space Station,” Kacir said.
“Our first manned space science mission will bring significant benefits to the research conducted by our scientists in the disciplines of biology, medicine, genetics, physics and materials science.”
Experiments conducted by Gezeravci investigated the effects of microgravity and other conditions in space on human health, physiology and the immune system, he added.
He said that the greatest result of this historic mission was the message it presented to Turkish youth and children to give them self-confidence.
Kacir also emphasized the country’s objectives on the ground.
“We will carefully evaluate the results of the scientific experiments of our manned space science mission and provide the necessary support to continue this research.
“We will finalize preparations for our next astronaut mission and ensure that our second astronaut conducts scientific experiments on a suborbital flight. We will initiate programs to conduct more scientific research on the ISS and strengthen international cooperation,” he added.
Kacir also said they would evaluate possible international collaborations for other manned space missions and initiate research and development programs for the development of space stations and other systems used in space missions.
He said the country would also establish a space technology development zone in Ankara and develop the space industry and achieve greater participation in the global space economy, which reaches $600 billion a year.
Türkiye will continue its independent access to space programs, its projects to develop launch rockets will continue and it will establish a spaceport with international cooperation by 2030, Kacir said.
“We will make our lunar program a reality. We will reach the Moon with a spacecraft designed and built by our own engineers and scientists, with a propulsion system developed with national capabilities,” he stated.
By realizing the regional positioning and timing system project, Türkiye will achieve a strategic gain that will strengthen its technological independence in the defense industry and civil areas, he noted.
He added that by completing the Eastern Anatolia Observatory Project, Türkiye will have the most advanced telescope in its region.
Türkiye will participate in space activities
Gezeravci said at the press conference that “with the education that my country gave me and the capabilities it has given me, I have accomplished this mission.”
“The strong will of our president and all the institutions of our State, like perfectly functioning gears in a wheel, did not allow any disturbance,” he added.
He expressed his gratitude to the employees of the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology, the Turkish Space Agency and the Türkiye Scientific and Technological Research Council, who managed the preparation process.
“Türkiye will get the share it deserves in space activities. No one should have any doubts,” he added.
Gezeravci joined Italian, Spanish and Swedish astronauts on the Axiom-3 mission, which launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 19 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Its crew docked at the ISS the next day. During their more than two-week stay at the station, Gezeravci, a Turkish Air Force pilot, and his three crewmates conducted more than 30 scientific experiments, about half of them conducted by Gezeravci himself.
The capsule undocked from the International Space Station on February 7 and began its return to Earth.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, carrying the crew, successfully landed off the coast of Florida on Saturday.
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