First Turkish astronaut heads to ISS on Falcon 9

An all-European crew, including the first Turkish astronaut, blasted off to the International Space Station on January 18 aboard Axiom Space, as countries increasingly turn to the private sector to pursue their space ambitions.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, attached to the top of a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:49 p.m. local time and is due to reach its destination early on January 20.

The long-awaited "Axiom-3" mission, which was postponed several times for various reasons, finally took off with the first Turkish astronaut Alper Gezeravci from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket headed for the International Space Station (ISS ) in Thursday.

Turkish officials highly appreciate the revolutionary trip.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the mission with Turkey's first-ever astronaut "historic", saying it marked "a very valuable beginning of the re-performance of the mission we carry into history as the inheritors of a civilization that has made a unique contribution to the history of science." .

Turkey's first manned space journey "will be a milestone for the work we are doing in the Space Homeland and will be doing in the future," Turkey's communications director said on Jan. 18.

"We are proud to live the arduous history of the 'Turkey Century' reaching space, fulfilling another dream that has been waiting for years to come true," Fahrettin Altun told X about the historic mission set to lift off from the US state of Florida to hours.

"Turkey is witnessing a historic moment," he added.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Industry and Technology stated that Colonel Alper Gezeravci's journey into space will leave a lasting and positive mark on Turkish society./BGNES