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Virgin Galactic’s “Galactic 7” Mission Is Accomplished With The Participation of 2nd Turkish Astronaut

On June 8th at 9:40 am, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity completed its suborbital flight. The VMS Eve spacecraft launched around 8:30 am from Spaceport America in New Mexico. VSS Unity reached an altitude of 45,000 feet via its carrier plane, Eve, before activating its hybrid propulsion system, which propelled the aircraft to nearly 55 miles above Earth at almost three times the speed of sound. The flight lasted for 70 minutes.

The Galactic 07 mission was Virgin Galactic’s 12th suborbital flight and 7th commercial flight, carrying paying travelers. This was the final flight of the VSS Unity spaceplane, as the company is developing more advanced Delta spaceplanes for commercial missions starting in 2026. The crew consisted of six people, with two being pilots, three being space tourists (in other words, private astronauts) from the US and Italy, and one being a researcher astronaut and Turkey’s second astronaut, Tuva Cihangir Atasever.

Atasever served as a researcher astronaut and conducted seven experiments under microgravity. For some experiments, such as the Beacon brain imaging experiment, Atasever wore a modified astronaut suit. In this experiment, data on Atasever’s blood flow in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and cerebrospinal fluid dynamics were collected via a near-infrared spectroscopy device placed on his head to analyze physiological and psychological changes during space flights. The IvmeRad Radiation Dosimeter experiment measured radiation exposure, while the Space Insulin Pen Test examined the dose delivery efficiency of two different insulin pens, potentially benefiting diabetic astronauts in the future.

Additionally, in the Vesicle Analysis in the Suborbital Flight experiment, a microchip collected biological samples from Atasever, enabling scientists to compare the human body before, during, and after space flights, with the aim of developing therapies for astronauts to adapt to space travel more quickly. The other three experiments will replicate those conducted by Alper Gezeravcı, the first Turkish astronaut, which primarily investigated the effects of microgravity on the human body.

Notably, Atasever expressed his grief for Palestinians and stated that “The suffering experienced by the Palestinian people is a situation our world’s beauty does not deserve.” He carried a Palestinian scarf, “keffiyeh,” with him during the flight, remarking, “We must live in harmony with the other members living within this ecosystem.” Regarding the Galactic 07 mission, he noted, “Our flight proceeded smoothly. From a scientific experiment standpoint, I can confidently say that we accomplished all our objectives.”

All in all, as the commercial spaceflight and space travel industries expand rapidly with increased investment and promotion of space exploration by various countries, humanity continues to unravel the mysteries of the universe day by day.


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