Today: March 02, 2024
Today: March 02, 2024

Turkey hails its first astronaut who returned from a 3-week mission to International Space Station

Share This
Turkey hails its first astronaut who returned from a 3-week mission to International Space Station
February 12, 2024

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s first astronaut returned home to a hero’s welcome Monday, portrayed as a symbol of the country’s advances in technology and aerospace.

Alper Gezeravci was greeted by bouquet-laden children at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport as he returned from a private three-week mission to the International Space Station. In return, he handed out Turkish flags he had carried with him into space.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has closely followed Gezeravci’s mission, declaring it a “new symbol of a growing, stronger and assertive Turkey,” after the country marked its centenary last year.

Erdogan has spoken several times to Gezeravci, a 44-year-old former Turkish fighter pilot, since he left for Florida to prepare for the mission.

His space flight, for which Turkey paid roughly $55 million, was the third such journey organized by Houston-based Axiom Space with NASA and SpaceX.

The expedition is seen in Turkey as a source of national pride and a highlight of its technological advancement, especially in the field of aerospace and military development such as aerial drones.

Addressing journalists at Esenboga in front of a backdrop proclaiming “Turkey’s First Manned Space Mission,” Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacir said the mission was “a first, but it will not be the last. A new page has been opened in space science and technologies for Turkey.”

Turkey established its own space agency in 2018, and said it will land on the moon by 2026.

Gezeravci was joined on the trip by Italian air force Col. Walter Villadei and Sweden’s Marcus Wandt, a former fighter pilot. They were escorted by retired NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who now works for Axiom Space.

The crew returned in a SpaceX capsule that parachuted into the Atlantic off the Florida coast on Friday.

While in orbit, the astronauts conducted science experiments and chatted with schoolchildren and officials from their countries. They enjoyed a few extra days at the space station, waiting for the weather to improve in the splashdown zone.


Two buildings damaged, people evacuated after 'incident' in Russia's St Petersburg, governor says

ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Two buildings were damaged and people were evacuated in Russia's St Petersburg on Saturday morning after local residents reported a loud explosion that blew out windows.

Oregon lawmakers pass bill to recriminalize drug possession

The Oregon Legislature has passed a bill that recriminalizes the possession of small amounts of drugs

Powerful storm in California and Nevada shuts interstate and dumps snow on mountains

A powerful blizzard is dumping snow in the Sierra Nevada as gusty winds and heavy rain hit lower elevations

Last surviving member of the first team to conquer Mount Everest says it is crowded and dirty now

The only surviving member of the mountaineering expedition that first conquered Mount Everest says the world’s highest peak is too crowded and too dirty and the mountain is a god that needs to be respected

A party like no other? Asia's richest man celebrates son's prenuptials with a star-studded bash

Tycoons from around the world, heads of state, as well as Hollywood and Bollywood stars have descended on the small western Indian city of Jamnagar where billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani is kickstarting a big fat wedding celebration for his youngest son

Haruki Murakami unveils his new short story at a Tokyo literary event

Only 1,100 lucky audience members were there to hear the yet-to-be published short story “Kaho,” read aloud by bestselling Japanese author Haruki Murakami himself


A New Jersey city that limited street parking hasn’t had a traffic death in 7 years

Hoboken, New Jersey, recently marked seven consecutive years without a traffic death

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton beat impeachment. Now he wants Super Tuesday revenge on his foes

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton beat impeachment, and now he wants political revenge

Alaska's Iditarod dogs get neon visibility harnesses after 5 were fatally hit while training

The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska’s official state sport, is set to get underway Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training

Peace, music and memories: As the 1960s fade, historians scramble to capture Woodstock's voices

An estimated 450,000 people attended the Woodstock festival in August 1969

- Advertisement -
Advertisement: Limited Time Offer