Turkey aims to send its first astronaut to space in 2023

The historic mission will coincide with the nation's centenary

Turkey signs a deal with Axiom Space to send its first astronaut into orbit next year. Photo: Mustafa Varank Twitter
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Turkey has set out plans to send its first astronaut to space to coincide with its centenary celebrations next year.

The country hopes to launch the milestone mission in August after signing an agreement with private company Axiom Space at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris on Monday.

Mustafa Varank, Turkey’s Minister of Industry and Technology, spoke of the country's aim to break new ground 100 years on from its formation.

“We signed a historical agreement on the first manned space mission to be carried out in the 100th anniversary of our republic,” he said.

“We will co-operate with Axiom Space for the training and flight service of the Turkish space traveller whose selection process is ongoing.”

Turkey signs a deal with Axiom Space to send its first astronaut to space in 2023. Photo: Mustafa Varank Twitter

Axiom Space is a private space infrastructure company based in Houston, Texas, and operates private missions to the International Space Station.

It is the same company that helped the UAE secure a long-duration mission to the ISS.

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi will be part of the SpaceX Crew-6 mission — set for lift-off in April — and will spend six months in the floating laboratory.

The historic mission is part of Turkey's ambitious 10-year space programme, which has also set its sights on journeys to the Moon.

Dr Mesut Gokten, director of Tubitak Uzay, a Turkish space technology research institution, said that this mission was in line with the nation's vision for its space programme.

Turkish space official Serdar Huseyin Yildrim said that the momentous journey would help pave the way for future missions.

“This mission is a part of Turkey’s ambitious 10-year space road map, which includes missions to the low-Earth orbit and the Moon as well as developing internationally viable satellite systems,” he said.

International Astronautical Congress 2022 — in pictures

Updated: September 19, 2022, 1:17 PM
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