Commercial space leader Axiom Space and the government of Turkiye have signed a historic agreement to send the first Turkish astronaut to space. As part of a larger effort by Turkiye to expand its space exploration capabilities and establish a national human space program, a Turkish astronaut will be trained by Axiom Space for a future space research mission. Axiom Space will also enable Turkish science and research to be conducted in microgravity.
Axiom Space, a U.S. based commercial space company, currently building the world's first commercial space station, is working with the TUBITAK Space Technologies Research Institute (TUBITAK UZAY) , under the direction of the Turkish Space Agency, Turkiye Uzay Ajansi (TUA) to enable this effort.
The spaceflight agreement was officially signed at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris, on 19 September 2022, with Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini, Deputy Minister of Industry and Technology of the Republic of Turkey Mehmet Fatih Kacir, TUA President and Chairman of the Board Serdar Huseyin Yildirim, TUBITAK UZAY Director Dr. Mesut Gokten, and other dignitaries.
"As the 100-year anniversary of Turkiye approaches, we will celebrate this important milestone by working to send the first Turkish astronaut to space," said Dr. Mesut Gokten. "This mission is a part of Turkiye'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." said Serdar Huseyin Yildirim.
The astronaut selection process is being managed by TUBITAK UZAY with support of Axiom Space, under the direction of the Turkish Space Agency on behalf of the Turkish government. Turkiye is evaluating scientific experiments via an open solicitation for on-orbit research. Further discussion between Turkiye and Axiom Space is underway to finalize the timeline for the mission.
"Exploration is part of the human DNA and with this agreement between Axiom Space and the nation of Turkiye, we will train and fly the first Turkish astronaut and strengthen our commitment to use commercial space as a driver to expand the international community of space explorers," said Michael Suffredini, Axiom Space's President and CEO.
"We are excited about Turkiye's role as a partner in commercial space and look forward to deepening this relationship as we work together to expand scientific and technological development on Earth and in orbit."
Axiom Space is the commercial space industry's only full-service orbital mission provider, conducting end-to-end crewed missions. Axiom's broad range of services include training and flying private astronauts, access to training facilitates and instructors, hardware and safety certification, and operational on-orbit management. Candidates for flight complete Axiom's rigorous training curriculum over many months in preparation to live and conduct meaningful work in space.
The expert team at Axiom Space is helping nations and organizations build human spaceflight programs, develop astronaut selection programs, and provide the expertise needed to expand the international community of space explorers to a larger and more diverse representation of humanity.
This partnership is the latest agreement between Axiom Space and a sovereign nation that will expand international human spaceflight capabilities. Previous signatories include Italy, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
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