First Turkish Astronaut Launched on Flight to Space Station

First Turkish Astronaut Launched on Flight to Space Station

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkey’s first astronaut along with a Swede and Italian launched Thursday to the International Space Station on a chartered SpaceX flight.

The Falcon rocket blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in late afternoon, carrying the three men, all with military pilot experience and representing their homelands.

Their capsule should reach the space station on Saturday. They will spend two weeks performing experiments, chatting up schoolchildren and soaking in the views of Earth, before returning home.

It’s costing each of the three countries $55 million or more. That’s the rough per-person price for the trip, the third such journey organized by the Houston company Axiom Space with NASA and SpaceX.

Turkey’s Alper Gezeravci, a former fighter pilot and captain for Turkish Airlines, is the first person from his country to rocket to space. He noted Turkey just celebrated its 100th anniversary, and, until now, the nation’s view of the sky has been limited to “that we could see with our bare eyes.”

“Now this mission is opening that curtain all the way,” he told reporters before the flight. “This is the beginning of our next centennial,” he said, the AP reported.

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