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Turkish uni plans to establish center for space, defense studies

A university in the Turkish capital Ankara plans to contribute to the country’s National Space Program by establishing a center of excellence focusing on space studies as the nation recently further excelled in this field by successfully completing its first crewed journey, a dean of the faculty of aeronautics and astronautics said recently.

The recent steps taken in the defense and aerospace field have leveled up as Col. Alper Gezeravcı was launched off to the International Space Station (ISS) with the Ax-3 crew to conduct scientific experiments, leaving his mark on the history books as the first Turkish space traveler.

Under the National Space Program, the program will focus on carrying out a new crewed journey, launching a lunar vehicle, and establishing a spaceport in the coming period.

The relevant ministries of Türkiye, the Turkish Space Agency (TUA), the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBITAK) Space Technologies Research Institute and universities are expected to put in their efforts to implement these projects.

In line with this, Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University (AYBU) aims to establish a National Aviation and Space Technologies Research and Application Center of Excellence to provide academic support in the defense, aviation, and space sciences fields, Veli Çelik, the dean of the faculty of aeronautics and astronautics told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Çelik said the center will be established at the university’s Esenboğa Campus, located in a town northeast of the capital, Ankara, specifically in the Technology Development Zone.

“We’re planning to use the center of excellence to carry out multidisciplinary studies by creating facilities that meet the standards, with focuses ranging from design to the certification of air and space vehicles, as well as developing pioneering technologies,” he added.

The center will also focus on “aerospace materials, components, and air and space vehicles, ranging from crewed to uncrewed aircraft, helicopters and drones, and deal with avionics, electronics and system integration, space systems, air traffic and flight planning, and digital research,” Çelik noted.

Contribution to National Space Program

Çelik stressed that the functions of the center include conducting research and development (R&D), organizing training programs, supporting the commercialization of information and technologies developed, determining standards, and developing joint projects in cooperation with national and international stakeholders.

He said they aim to improve Türkiye’s competitive image in line with the recent breakthrough in the country’s aviation history with the first Turkish space traveler sent to space, adding: “We plan to contribute to the training of qualified workforce with the center, and pioneer the development of safety, quality and compliance standards in the sector … to the advancement of our country’s space efforts.”

Academics from the faculties of aviation and space sciences, engineering and natural arts, and architecture and fine arts will also contribute to the making of the center of excellence, he noted.

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