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Former Turkish fighter pilot becomes first citizen to fly in space


 Former Turkish fighter pilot first citizen to fly

Swedish, Turkish, and Italian astronauts returned to Earth after a three-week private trip to the International Space Station, with a retired NASA astronaut working for Axiom Space. 

A private three-week trip to the International Space Station came to an end on Friday as astronauts from Sweden, Turkey, and Italy returned to Earth. A retired NASA astronaut who currently works for Axiom Space, the Houston-based business that organized the chartered flight, accompanied the trio. In a SpaceX capsule that crashed into the Atlantic off the coast of Florida, the crew made a safe return. Last month, Turkey commemorated the launch of Alper Gezeravci from Cape Canaveral. He was the first citizen of his nation to fly in space. He was a former fighter pilot and captain for Turkish Airlines.

Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei, Marcus Wandt of Sweden, a former fighter pilot selected by the European Space Agency in 2022 as a reserve astronaut, and Michael Lopez-Alegria, Gezeravci's escort, also traveled with him. The mission was funded by Sweden, Turkey, and Italy, each contributing about $55 million. Axiom has scheduled a fourth private mission to the space station for later this year. This was its third trip there.

As part of his nation's 100th anniversary as a republic, Gezeravci hailed his country for its "bold and determined decision" to send a citizen into space before departing the space station. The astronauts conducted scientific experiments and had conversations with national officials and kids while in orbit. While they waited for the weather in the splashdown zone to improve, they relished a few more days aboard the space station.

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