The AX-3 Crew met with Bogazici University Members

The first Turkish astronaut, Alper Gezeravcı, as well as Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei and Marcus Wandt, who are part of the Axiom-3 mission, met with members from Bogazici University. The crew was welcomed by the Rector of Bogazici University, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Naci İnci, and shared their experiences and feelings about the mission.
Osman Yalçın

Bogazici University welcomed the first Turkish astronaut Alper Gezeravcı and the Axiom-3 mission crew, including Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei and Marcus Wandt, at the Albert Long Hall on the South Campus.


In his speech, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Naci İnci emphasised that Alper Gezeravcı and his crewmates are a great source of inspiration for the students of Bogazici University. He expressed their commitment to nurturing future scientists, engineers and leaders and stated:

“We are very pleased and honoured to welcome you to Bogazici University. We are gathered here today to meet and celebrate our brave astronauts who are pushing the boundaries of humanity and illuminating the future. I would like to congratulate our esteemed astronauts who have successfully returned from their journey into space. You have not only overcome technological boundaries, but also opened up new horizons for humanity. Your journey into space has once again shown us how strong and indispensable the desire to explore the depths of the universe is. This achievement is the finest proof of what can be achieved when science and technology come together. As children, many of us dreamed of the voyages of Captain Kirk and his friends in the Star Trek series. Today we live in a science fiction series. You have made all our dreams come true. There is no doubt that space travel requires advanced research and development, years of scientific and technological research. However, the spaceships developed with this technology need a pilot to take them far away. Without the spirit of adventure that drives these aviation heroes, these flying machines would only be of limited use. People would be forever bound by gravity and stuck in the two-dimensional world on the Earth's surface. These great people and their flying machines have expanded our world. They gave us wings to fly like our spirit and enriched our lives immeasurably. As Bogazici University, we have always supported scientific curiosity and the desire to explore. Our goal is to nurture our students, academics and all our stakeholders with this spirit and to bring future scientists, engineers and leaders to the world. The achievements of our astronauts here today should be an inspiration to you. Their courage, determination and passion for science should encourage you to pursue your own dreams with determination. Remember that your interest in science and technology and your work in these fields will shape not only your future but also the future of humanity.”


Türkiye’s first astronaut, Alper Gezeravcı, said that he always dreamed of the sky as a child and that he grew up hearing that this could only be a dream for people from other countries. He explained that Türkiye has broken this notion with its National Space Program, saying, “As a child, the sky was always my dream. When I was growing up, I heard that this could only be a dream for people from other countries, but I never believed it. Türkiye’s initiative to go beyond the sky with its National Space Program has broken this. As Turks and as young people in Türkiye, we can now pursue our own space dreams and make them come true.”


Referring to the “MicroAlgal Life Support Units for Space Missions” (UzMAn) project carried out by Boğaziçi University and experimented by Astronaut Alper Gezeravcı on the International Space Station (ISS) as part of Türkiye’s National Space Program, Gezeravcı emphasized that the 13 experiments selected by Turkish universities are very important for Türkiye’s planned manned mission to the Moon. He stated that the microalgae experiments conducted in the weightlessness of the ISS were successfully completed, saying:

“We have completed 13 experiments in space. However, when selecting these projects, the 10 target areas of the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) were taken into consideration. These areas will shape Türkiye’s future space missions. It is wonderful that people from all these areas come together for this purpose. In the experiments we conducted with microalgae as part of Boğaziçi University's UzMAn project, we observed the effects of these organisms on life support systems. Our results showed that microalgae are effective in the water and oxygen cycle. These projects are not only important for the Axiom-3 mission, but will also play an important role in Türkiye’s future missions, such as the crewed moon mission. Türkiye wants to overcome the limits of space with its own rocket, rocket engine and other developed systems.”

The commander of the AX-3 mission, the experienced American astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, pointed out that it takes time for the first members of a space crew to adapt to the environment. He pointed out that being in space is quite technical: “The training we receive teaches us to expect the unexpected in space. However, for someone going into space for the first time, it is not easy to get used to weightlessness, no matter how much training they have received. The body has to get used to it. People can get used to it over time and do their job."