Türkiye’s first manned space mission will depart for the International Space Station at 01.11 a.m. local time on Jan. 18, a top Turkish official said Thursday.
Col. Alper Gezeravci with the Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crew will head to the International Space Station, Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacir said on X.
“This historic mission will be a great source of inspiration for future generations as well as being an important milestone in Türkiye’s space science studies,” Kacir said.
The Ax-3 crew will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket inside a Dragon spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The crew is expected to dock with the International Space Station on Jan. 19 at 1.15 p.m.
A special commemorative stamp and envelope were designed by the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) and PTT, the national post and telegraph directorate, for Türkiye’s first manned space mission, in which Gezeravci will raise the Turkish flag in space.
The stamp features various symbols, each with a special meaning for the important journey, including a silhouette of Gezeravci with a patch of the Turkish flag on his shoulder.
Türkiye selected Gezeravci, a Turkish Air Force F-16 pilot, as the country’s first prospective space traveler last year during the major technology event TEKNOFEST.
The Turkish Space Agency was established in 2018 and announced its space program in 2019, as well as its intention to send a crewed mission into space.