Turkish Astronaut Completes First Space Mission and Returns to Earth

First Turkish Astronaut Expected to Leave International Space Station on February 7

The Dragon spacecraft and Axiom-3 (Ax-3) crew, which includes Turkey’s first astronaut Alper Gezeravcı, is set to depart from the International Space Station on February 7, 2024. The Ax-3 team is scheduled to leave the station at 17:05 GMT, pending favorable weather conditions in the landing area for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

The departure of the team has been eagerly awaited, and Minister of Industry and Technology Mehmet Fatih KACIR expressed his optimism, stating, “There is good news from the Ax-3 team, including our astronaut Alper Gezeravcı. Conditions look favorable. I hope the return journey from the International Space Station to Earth will begin today at 17:05.”

Following the team’s departure, the journey is expected to last approximately 48 hours, with the capsule landing at one of 7 potential points in the Atlantic Ocean and the western Gulf of Mexico. Upon landing, the astronauts will undergo their first examination before being transported by helicopter to the airport and then to the city of Houston by plane. During the flight, onboard doctors will perform general checks on the astronauts, who will later undergo comprehensive health screening in Houston and remain in quarantine for a period of time.

At the farewell ceremony held at the ISS, Gezeravcı expressed his gratitude, saying, “As a continuation of our proud history, I am very honored and happy to have carried out Turkey’s first manned space mission in the new Turkish century we have stepped into. I hope that this task we have accomplished will be the guarantee of our future and an inspiring start for our dear young people. This was the starting point of a story, may our next path be auspicious for our entire nation.”

The departure of the Ax-3 team and Turkey’s first astronaut from the International Space Station marks a historic moment for the country and its space program. It represents a significant milestone in Turkey’s space exploration efforts and sets the stage for further advancements and achievements in the field of space science and technology.


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