National Space Program and Turkish Space Man

National Space Program and Turkish Space Man

National Space Program and Turkish Space Man

In the December 2021 issue of ANAHTAR, the monthly publication of the Ministry of Industry and Technology of the Republic of Turkey, studies for the goals of the National Space Program took place.

Within the scope of the Turkish Astronaut and Science Mission to be carried out under the coordination of TUA, in the study titled "National Space Program and Turkish Space Person", written by Experts Fatih Demir and Ahmet Hamdi Takan at the Turkish Space Agency, the selection, training, design of space experiments of a Turkish astronaut and with the mission determination, there are details for the experiment or experiments to be done on the ISS.

National Space Program and Turkish Space Man

Turkey has taken its progress in space technologies to another dimension with the establishment of the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) and the announcement of the National Space Program (MUP). The National Space Program, which was introduced with the statements of our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 9, 2021, is an important milestone for our country to take its place in the space race with 10 determined targets. The Turkish Astronaut and Science Mission (TABM), which is one of the targets set in this framework, was put forward for the purpose of sending a Turkish citizen into space and carrying out scientific experiments (TUA, 2021). As part of the Turkish Astronaut and Science Mission, a Turkish citizen will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to perform scientific missions after the necessary training. Within the scope of this task, the experiments of the science mission to be carried out on the ISS will be determined and the relevant materials and equipment will be prepared. In addition, it is aimed that an experimental/scientific CubeSat (CubeSat), which will be produced in our country, is put into orbit from the ISS by the astronaut and commissioned in space.

SPACE Boundary and ISS

There is no defined definition of the space boundary, but the 100 km boundary proposed by Theodore Von Karman is accepted worldwide in terms of the separation of aviation and space activities. This limit is recognized by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) and climbing above 100 km altitude (Karman Line) means going into space (UNOOSA, 2021). According to the FAI definition, as of July 20, 2021, 41 people from 574 countries have crossed the Karman Line, and no Turkish citizen has entered space yet. With the intergovernmental agreement signed on January 29, 1998, it was decided to establish the ISS. on ISS; Operations are carried out in cooperation with NASA (USA), ROSCOSMOS (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe) and CSA (Canada). Various tests and scientific experiments can be carried out with advanced infrastructures within the station. As of 2021, 19 astronauts, cosmonauts and visitors from 249 different countries have been on the ISS (NASA, 2021a).

The other space station in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is China's Tiangong Space Station. Construction began in LEO in May 2021 by the China Manned Space Program Agency (CMSA), and the Station is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022 (Space.com, 2021). The CMSA aims to send more taikonauts to Tiangong and have the Station host many scientific experiments for China and other countries.

ISS Science Mission

Since 2019, the ISS has been opened to commercial businesses and astronauts from other countries. This capacity allows the private sector to test new technologies and astronauts to be trained under microgravity. To date, the ISS has helped more than 3.600 researchers conduct more than 2.500 experiments. Within the scope of the Turkish Astronaut and Science Mission to be carried out under the coordination of TUA, the selection, training, space experiment design and task determination of a Turkish astronaut, and the experiment or experiments to be carried out on the ISS will be very important for Turkish space studies. By encouraging the participation of Turkish people in scientific studies to be carried out in space with international cooperation;

  • Providing opportunities to Turkish scientists about researches that can be done in space,
  • Increasing Turkey's visibility in space,
  • Raising awareness about space in the national public,
  • Encouraging young generations to work in the field of space,
  • It is aimed to increase the interest in science and technology.

Apart from these, astronaut candidates and the astronaut who will go to the ISS; will have the opportunity to pass on the experiences gained in astronaut training, launch operation, docking and leaving the ISS, entering the atmosphere and during his stay in the station to young people and students for many years. The secondary important mission of the Turkish astronaut to be sent to the ISS will begin after the space flight. The following tasks are planned to be performed within the scope of a pre-prepared program:

  • Making speeches at national and international meetings,
  • To be a role model for young people and to popularize science in society,
  • Participating in programs to be held with educational institutions,
  • Using social media effectively.

With TABM, which is aimed to be realized in the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, a great success will be achieved that will not only be noted in history and will be an inspiration to young generations in the field of space, as well as scientific research.

Cube Satellite Mission

One of the sub-missions planned with the Turkish Astronaut and Science Mission is to place an experimental/scientific Cube Satellite (CubeSat) into orbit from the ISS. Within the scope of this mission, it is aimed to develop, produce and test a 3U experimental/scientific Cube Satellite with domestic facilities, to make it ready for launch from the ISS, to commission it in space and to operate it for at least three months. Cube Satellite is a very small type of satellite with standardized mass and volume. Basic 1-unit (1U) Cube Satellite originally planned with dimensions of 10x10x10 cm and a maximum of 1 kg; later the mass limit was increased to 1,33 kg. Cube Satellites; It is often preferred in experimental and scientific tasks. Due to their standardized small structure and weight, relatively low cost and short development time, their commercial applications have been increasing in recent years (ISISpace Group, 2021). Cube Satellite studies in Turkey started in 2005 within the body of Istanbul Technical University (ITU) (ITU Media and Communication Office, 2021). Turkey's scientific and experimental Cube Satellite studies are given in Table 1.

The fact that regular cargo transport missions to the ISS and the high costs of launching have led to the idea of ​​placing small satellites into orbit from the ISS over time. In 2005, for the first time, a small Russian satellite was launched into orbit by hand during spacewalk (Ovchinnikov et al., 2007). The first Cube Satellite release from the ISS was carried out in 2012 using a release pod taken out of the ISS from the airlock of the Japanese Experimental Module KIBO (Keith, 2012). Turkey's UBAKUSAT experimental amateur radio communication satellite was also placed into orbit from the ISS in 2018 with this method. Today, Cube Satellite release from the ISS is carried out using similar methods using the KIBO airlock of the Japanese Space Agency and the Bishop airlock of the US Nanoracks company. The Cube Satellite, which is planned to be developed within the scope of TABM, is also planned to be placed in orbit using one of these two alternatives.

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