Turkey working on launching first astronaut into space
Nuray Babacan – ANKARA
The Turkish government is working on sending the country’s first ever astronaut into space and establishing a space agency, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü has said.
“We have contacted countries that have expertise in training astronauts,” he told daily Hürriyet on Nov. 9, adding that the cost of training a spaceman in Japan was $25 million.
“They train spacemen from scratch,” he said.
Turkey will evaluate offers from Russia and the U.S., he informed, while adding that the government drafted a law on establishing space research authorities.
Özlü said Russia had trained a Syrian cosmonaut in the past, who later was sent into space with a Russian team.
Turkish cab in New York
Speaking at an event in the Aegean province of Aydın on Nov. 9, Özlü also set an ambitious goal for Turkey’s recent plans to build an indigenous automobile.
“When you go to New York from here, you will hail a taxi. That car will be a Turkish-made one,” he said.
Turkey launched a joint venture of five local industrial giants - Anadolu Group, BMC, Kıraça Holding, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding - to produce its first domestically-made car on Nov. 2.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been pushing for the project, talked the issue with SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk when the two met on Nov. 9 and spoke about electric-engine cars, the minister recalled.