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Turkish astronaut to fly space tonight

17 January 2024 12:21 (UTC+04:00)
Turkish astronaut to fly space tonight

By Ali Kürşat Büyükada

Turkiye's space age is beginning. The first Turkish astronaut, Alper Gezeravcı, is going on a 14-day space journey tonight. The launch, which will take place at 01.11 tonight, will be made in the US state of Florida.

Within the scope of the first manned space mission of the National Space Program, the historical 14-day journey of the first Turkish astronaut, Alper Gezeravcı, will begin on the night between January 17 and January 18. The Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crew, including Turkiye's first space traveller, Alper Gezeravcı, will head towards the International Space Station (ISS). The launch from Florida will take place on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 01.11 Turkiye time. Docking with the International Space Station (ISS) will take place on January 19 at 13.15. With this step, the first manned space mission of the National Space Program, which Turkiye announced in 2021, will reach its goal.

13 science experiments will be done

Candidates completed their training in the USA, Japan, Germany, and Turkiye. In addition, 13 science experiments to be carried out on the International Space Station (ISS) have been identified. These experiments will be carried out in microgravity and space environments in the fields of human genetics, human health, biology, material science, production technologies, and basic sciences. Integration and adaptation studies of the experiments will be carried out in coordination with TUBITAK Space, Axiom Space, and NASA.

Moreover, there is a crew of four people for the 'Ax-3' mission that Axiom Space will send to the International Space Station (ISS). The people with whom Gezeravcı will take part in the Ax-3 flight will be mission leader Michael Lopez-Alegria representing the USA and Spain, pilot Walter Villadei from the Italian Air Force, and Swedish Marcus Wandt participating on behalf of the European Space Agency.

It will be watched live in the squares

Preparations were made in some cities, especially Istanbul and Ankara, to watch the launch ceremony. It can be watched from the planetariums in Kızılay and Taksim starting at 23.00 tonight. In addition, the moments when the launch will be held with bated breath will be broadcast live in science centres in Turkiye. Children, young people, and elders who are curious about space will share this excitement in the centres. The ceremony can also be watched from Konya Science Centre, Bursa Gökmen Space Aviation Training Centre, Bilim Üsküdar, Antalya Science Centre, Gaziantep Müzeyyen Erkul Science Centre, Aksaray Science Centre, Trabzon Özdemir Bayraktar Science Centre, and Kayseri Science Centre.

It is expected that Vice President Cevdet Yılmaz will also come to the planetarium, where collective excitement will be experienced. Space demonstrations will be held for 14 days in the planetarium, which will remain established during the Turkish astronaut's stay in space. In addition, on the day of the launch, experiment owners will come to the planetarium in Ankara and explain their experiments in space and their importance to space enthusiasts throughout the day.

Besides that, space travellers who will go on the Ax-3 space mission will also take with them some personal objects and objects that symbolise their country. In Gezeravcı's suitcase, there will be photographs of his family members, especially his nephew, some objects belonging to Yoruk culture, and the Turkish flag given to them by President Erdoğan. Space traveller Alper Gezeravcı, who gave an interview to Yeni Şafak after being selected as a space traveller, said that the first thing he wanted to do in space was to wave the Turkish flag. Gezeravcı said, “We do not take our flag into space. Our flag takes us to space. Therefore, the priority will be to show the presence of our flag there to the whole world. "We will raise our flag against Turkiye, take photos, and share our photo with the Turkish Space Agency," he said.

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