Turkish Astronaut Wraps Up Mission, Faces Re-Entry Challenges

After an 18-day stint aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Turkey's inaugural astronaut, Alper Gezeravci, is preparing to return to Earth, marking the culmination of his historic mission.

Turkish Astronaut Wraps Up Mission, Faces Re-Entry Challenges

Gezeravci, a Turkish Air Force pilot, diligently adhered to a rigorous exercise routine during his stay at the station, dedicating two hours daily to mitigate muscle atrophy in the microgravity environment.

Halit Mirahmetoglu, the director of Türkiye's Gokmen Space and Aviation Training Center, shed light on the physical transformations experienced by Gezeravci in space and the readjustment hurdles awaiting him upon re-entry.

Mirahmetoglu noted that space travelers often grapple with Space Motion Sickness syndrome during the initial 72 hours, characterized by symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea, affecting nearly 70% of astronauts.

Moreover, prolonged exposure to microgravity can lead to a significant decline in muscle mass, up to 20% in just two weeks, as highlighted by Mirahmetoglu. He also cautioned about potential vision impairment caused by increased cranial blood flow during extended spaceflights.

Furthermore, astronauts may experience height fluctuations of up to five centimeters due to spinal elongation in microgravity, contributing to lower back discomfort.

Mirahmetoglu indicated that these physiological issues typically revert to baseline within a year post-mission, contrasting with the extended quarantine periods following historical space endeavors like the Apollo program.

The return journey for Gezeravci and his multinational crew, comprising members from Spain, Italy, and Sweden, commenced with the detachment of their space capsule from the ISS on Wednesday. The capsule is slated to arrive back on Earth after approximately 47 hours, culminating on Friday morning, Eastern Time in the US.

Their Ax-3 space mission, launched on Jan. 19 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, encompassed a myriad of scientific experiments, with Gezeravci actively participating in over half of them.

Despite encountering delays due to inclement weather, the crew's safe return heralds the completion of a milestone mission, advancing Türkiye's foray into space exploration.

#TurkishAstronaut #SpaceReadjustment #MicrogravityChallenges #SpaceMotionSickness #MuscleLoss #HeightFluctuations #SpaceQuarantine #SpaceCapsule #ReEntryJourney #SpaceExploration #ScientificExperiments #Falcon9Mission #MissionCompletion

Abdulkadir ŞEKER

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