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Turkey’s First Astronaut Soars to the Stars

Payam Javan: Turkey’s inaugural astronaut, Alper Gezeravci, joined forces with a Swedish astronaut, Marcus Wandt, and Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei for a historic SpaceX launch to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Falcon rocket, taking off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, carried the trio, each with a military pilot background, to conduct experiments and engage with schoolchildren during their two-week stay.

A retired NASA astronaut, Michael Lopez-Alegria, accompanied them as the trip’s organizer. This mission marks Turkey’s first foray into space travel, celebrating the nation’s centennial and expanding its cosmic horizons.

The journey, organized by Axiom Space in collaboration with NASA and SpaceX, comes with a price tag of $55 million per person for the participating countries. The symbolic cargo includes a Nobel Prize medal from Sweden, fusilli pasta from Italy, and tokens representing Turkey’s nomadic culture.

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