HomeTechnologyGezeravcı becomes 1st Turkish astronaut as Axiom mission blasts off

Gezeravcı becomes 1st Turkish astronaut as Axiom mission blasts off


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The much-anticipated Axiom-3 mission with Türkiye’s first astronaut and three different crew members blasted off on Thursday on a voyage to the International Space Station (ISS), in what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned marked a “historic” second for the nation.

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule fastened to the highest of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Axiom quartet lifted off about an hour earlier than sundown from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, starting a deliberate 36-hour flight to the orbiting laboratory.

Alper Gezeravcı, the primary particular person from Türkiye to rocket to area, is accompanied by a Swede and Italian, all with army pilot expertise and representing their homelands. Their escort on the journey: A retired NASA astronaut who now works for Texas startup Axiom Space, the corporate that organized the personal flight.

Their capsule ought to attain the area station on Saturday. They will spend two weeks performing experiments, chatting up schoolchildren and soaking within the views of Earth, earlier than returning dwelling.

Gezeravcı, a former fighter pilot and captain for Turkish Airlines, famous Türkiye simply celebrated its a centesimal anniversary, and, till now, the nation’s view of the sky has been restricted to “that we could see with our bare eyes.”

“Now this mission is opening that curtain all the way,” he instructed reporters earlier than the flight. “This is the beginning of our next centennial.”

Erdoğan has displayed a eager curiosity within the mission, having offered Gezeravcı, 44, to the Turkish public final 12 months.

“We are taking a step into the second century of our Republic, the Century of Türkiye, with the manned space mission we have undertaken for the first time,” Erdoğan mentioned in a video message on Thursday.

The president mentioned as heirs of a civilization that has made vital contributions to the historical past of science, they’re marking a begin of a invaluable new chapter, aiming to re-enact the mission carried all through historical past.

“For the first time, we are sending a citizen into space to inspire our young people who look to the horizon with a sparkle in their eyes and our children whose dreams cannot be contained within the world,” Erdoğan mentioned.

The mission has been one of many objectives of Türkiye’s National Space Program, introduced in early 2021.

Also flying: Sweden’s Marcus Wandt, a former fighter pilot and check pilot for Swedish Aeroplane Corp. who was chosen in 2022 as a reserve astronaut by the European Space Agency, and Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei, who flew to the sting of area final summer time with Virgin Galactic.

Among the symbolic gadgets they’re taking on: a Nobel Prize medal from Sweden, fusilli pasta from Italy and tokens of Türkiye’s nomadic tradition.

With them is Michael Lopez-Alegria, who launched 4 occasions as a NASA astronaut earlier than becoming a member of Axiom Space and escorting its first chartered flight. He is the one repeat passenger on a SpaceX Dragon, the capsule that is been used to ferry astronauts to the area station for NASA since 2020.

“Welcome to the Dragon frequent flyer club,” radioed SpaceX Launch Control.

The autonomously operated Crew Dragon is anticipated to achieve the ISS on Saturday and dock with the outpost orbiting some 400 km (250 miles) above Earth and at present occupied by seven common crew members.

Live video streamed on-line by Axiom confirmed the two-stage 25-story-tall launch car streaking into partly cloudy skies over Florida’s Atlantic coast atop a fiery, yellowish tail of exhaust.

Cameras contained in the crew compartment beamed footage of the 4 males strapped into their pressurized cabin, seated calmly in helmeted white-and-black flight fits because the rocket soared towards area.

Nine minutes after launch, the rocket’s higher stage delivered the crew capsule to its preliminary orbit, in response to launch commentators.

Meanwhile, the rocket’s reusable decrease stage, having indifferent from the remainder of the spacecraft, flew itself again to Earth and safely touched down on a touchdown zone close to the launch website.

The journey is third such journey organized by Axiom Space with NASA and SpaceX over the previous two years. The firm fees its prospects not less than $55 million for every astronaut seat.

The mission marks “a milestone for the work we are doing in the Space Homeland and will carry out in the future,” Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun mentioned on Thursday.

Altun mentioned it marks a realization of a dream that has been anticipated for years

“Türkiye is witnessing a historic moment,” he wrote on X, previously generally known as Twitter.

Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacır mentioned Col. Gezeravcı’s journey would go away a long-lasting and constructive mark on society in Türkiye.

“Not only Alper’s dreams, but also the dreams of Turkish children and youth will exceed the limits of the sky,” Kacır instructed Anadolu Agency (AA) hours earlier than the launch.

Liftoff was initially deliberate for Jan. 9 however was postponed twice to Jan. 17 after which to Jan. 18, amongst others, to permit extra time for ultimate inspections and information evaluation, together with a difficulty associated to the parachute system used to gradual the capsule’s return descent earlier than splashdown, the corporate mentioned.

Two weeks of orbital analysis

Plans for the Axiom-3 mission name for the crew to spend roughly 14 days in microgravity aboard the ISS conducting greater than 30 scientific experiments, lots of them targeted on the consequences of spaceflight on human well being and illness.

Axiom billed the flight as “the first all-European commercial astronaut mission” to the area station.

If all goes easily, they are going to be welcomed aboard ISS by the seven members of the station’s present common crew – two Americans from NASA, one astronaut every from Japan and Denmark and three Russian cosmonauts.

In May 2023, Axiom-2 launched a staff of two Americans and two Saudis, together with Rayyanah Barnawi, a biomedical scientist who grew to become the primary Arab girl ever despatched to orbit, on an eight-day mission to the ISS.

SpaceX, the privately funded rocket and satellite tv for pc firm of billionaire Elon Musk, supplies Axiom’s launch autos and crew capsules beneath contract, because it has for NASA missions to the ISS. SpaceX additionally runs mission management for its rocket launches from the corporate’s headquarters close to Los Angeles.

NASA, apart from furnishing the launch website at Cape Canaveral, assumes duty for the astronauts as soon as they rendezvous with the area station.

Axiom, an eight-year-old enterprise headed by NASA’s former ISS program supervisor, is considered one of a handful of corporations constructing a industrial area station of its personal supposed to ultimately change the ISS, which NASA expects to retire round 2030.

Launched to orbit in 1998, the ISS has been constantly occupied since 2000 beneath a U.S.-Russian-led partnership that features Canada, Japan and 11 nations that belong to the European Space Agency.

Yusuf Kıraç, the president of the Turkish Space Agency (TUA), mentioned Türkiye had been ready for this for a few years.

“Alper will hopefully successfully complete 13 scientific studies to pave the way for our country’s future endeavors,” Kıraç mentioned.

“Today is a milestone for us, but it will continue. Our Moon program, sending our own people with our own launch systems, is the main goal for us.”

Hasan Mandal, head of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBITAK), additionally known as it a historic day, including: “We are realizing one of the missions that will leave a mark on history in the Century of Türkiye.”

The mission marks the third such flight organized by Houston-based Axiom over the previous two years as the corporate builds on its business of placing astronauts sponsored by international governments and personal enterprises into Earth orbit.

Source: www.dailysabah.com

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