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Axiom Space and Virgin Galactic to Send Turkish Astronaut to Space

Axiom Space
AX-3 launch. Credit: Axiom Space / SpaceX

Ibadan, 15 May 2024. – Axiom Space has partnered with Virgin Galactic to send Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) backup and Turkish Space Agency (TUA) astronaut Tuva Atasever on a suborbital flight on June 8 to conduct microgravity research. As a result, Atasever will become the second Turkish astronaut in his nation’s history after participating in the Galactic 07 flight.

Atasever will conduct seven experiments as part of the Galactic 07 mission. Three of those will take place in-flight with payloads embedded in his custom-built flight suit. One of the studies will help understand the changes in intracranial pressure and its effect on human visual acuity through a headgear with brain activity monitoring sensors. Likewise, the second will use a dosimeter to measure Atasever’s ionizing radiation exposure. Finally, Atasever will test insulin pen effectiveness in microgravity by dispensing doses into a collection container within his flight suit.

Atasever will also participate in four human physiology research investigations together with Turkish researchers on the ground. This research will help identify epigenetic and immune system responses, metabolic alterations, myeloid-derived suppressor cell behaviors, and extracellular vesicle changes during suborbital spaceflight.

In partnership with TÜBITAK UZAY, the suborbital flight will serve as an opportunity to collect more biomedical data for three research studies. Researchers on the Ax-3 mission previously conducted these studies, and they are studies that could potentially impact future human spaceflight missions. In addition, Axiom Space is sending its own research payload on Galactic 07 to study insulin dose dispensation in microgravity.

Speaking on the opportunity, Atasever said, “I look forward to continuing Türkiye’s human space exploration efforts on the Galactic 07 flight. With seven scientific investigations in collaboration with national and international partners, we will make important contributions toward space research in Türkiye.”

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