In a hero’s welcome, Turkish astronaut Alper Gezeravci returned from a three-week private mission to the International Space Station. Children greeted him at Essenboga Airport in Ankara, and he distributed Turkish flags he brought with him into space. The mission was Turkey’s third such trip organized by Houston-based Akiom Space with NASA and SpaceX, costing the country roughly $55 million.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan closely followed Gezeravci’s mission, calling it a symbol of Turkey’s growth and technological strength. The expedition is considered a source of national pride and a pinnacle of technological progress, especially in the field of air and military development. Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacir said that the space mission was the first but would not be the last, indicating that Turkey had opened a new page in space science and technology.
In 2018, Turkey established its own space agency with plans to land on the moon by 2026. The crew returned to the SpaceX capsule that parachuted into the Atlantic off the coast of Florida on Friday after conducting science experiments in space and speaking with schoolchildren and officials from their countries. Overall, the mission is a symbol of progress and technological advancement for Turkey.