Type to search


Turkish Astronaut Joins International Crew for Suborbital Flight

Turkish Astronaut Joins International Crew for Suborbital Flight

A team of astronauts, including Türkiye’s second space traveler Tuva Cihangir Atasever, is set to launch from New Mexico on Saturday for a suborbital research flight aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity. Atasever will serve as a research astronaut on this final flight, designated Galactic 07, which will lift off at 8:30 a.m. local time (0230GMT). The crew comprises six members, including three astronauts — two American and one Italian — and two pilots.

The flight is expected to last approximately 70 minutes, reaching an altitude of 45,000 feet (13,700 meters) on a carrier aircraft before the VSS Unity’s hybrid propulsion system propels it to about 55 miles (90 kilometers). During the three-minute free-fall phase in microgravity, Atasever will conduct seven scientific experiments.

Virgin Galactic announced in May the opening of a new facility in Southern California to produce Delta spacecraft capable of performing eight missions a month.

Also Read: Japanese Astronaut, First Non-American To Be On Moon

Atasever’s modified astronaut suit will facilitate three experiments, including the “Beacon” brain imaging experiment. This experiment uses a near-infrared spectroscopy device to study blood flow in the prefrontal cortex and cerebrospinal fluid dynamics. Additionally, psychological changes from viewing Earth from space will be studied through samples collected from Atasever.

The IvmeRad Radiation Dosimeter will measure radiation exposure to help predict future exposure for space travelers. The Space Insulin Pen Test, a collaborative project between the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) and Axiom Space, will assess the efficiency of insulin dose delivery in a microgravity environment, marking the first test of treatment methods for diabetic space travelers.

Another experiment, Vesicle Analysis in Suborbital Flight, will utilize a specially designed microchip to analyze biological samples from Atasever before and after the flight, aiming to develop therapies to help astronauts adapt better to space travel.

Additionally, three experiments previously conducted by Türkiye’s first astronaut Alper Gezeravci on the International Space Station will be repeated. The Message experiment measured the effects of microgravity on human physiology, Metabolom examined biomolecular changes induced by space flight, and Miyeloid studied changes in cell groups suppressing immune system response during inflammatory diseases.

Atasever’s mission follows Gezeravci’s historic flight to the International Space Station in January as part of the Axiom Mission 3.