Before his historic return-to-flight mission aboard NASA`s Space Shuttle Discovery in July, Astronaut Steve Lindsey said he always wanted to visit Turkey and, if possible, he would like to after his return from the International Space Station.
Three months later, Lindsey arrived at Space Camp Turkey as the invited guest of Kaya Tuncer, founder of Space Camp Turkey and President of ESBAS, and presented him a Turkish flag flown aboard Lindsey`s STS-121 mission.
”We are very honored to have Astronaut Steve Lindsey visit our Space Camp and share his unique experiences in space with the people of Turkey. Parents, teachers and kids from Izmir and Ankara schools had a rare opportunity to speak face-to-face with an astronaut of Steve`s who`s actually piloted and commanded four Space Shuttle missions,” remarked Tuncer.
Lindsey`s appearance marks the second time a NASA astronaut has attended the camp this year. Shannon Lucid visited in July and Romanian Cosmonaut Dorin Prunariu appeared in August. Next year, more astronauts and cosmonauts events are planned. Space Camp Turkey`s interactive environment –providing young people opportunities to interface with real space pioneers integral to promoting space and science education.
“What more could you ask for, except maybe a free trip to space?” said Tuncer. “Kids who come to Space Camp Turkey not only get to experience the sensations of living and working in space, but they also get to talk to people who have actually been there. We probably have the biggest interactive space science classroom in Asia, southern Europe and the Middle East.”
During Lindsey`s visit to Space Camp Turkey, Oct. 8-12, Tuncer hosted a special ceremony in the camp`s training center and dedicated the Space Shuttle Discovery simulator to Lindsey. This was followed by Lindsey`s space presentation to teachers and kids from Izmir`s Gelisim College, Turk College, and the SEV American School, as well as BUPS College in Ankara. Lindsey later met with Izmir Governor Oguzkaan Koksal and Izmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoglu and presented them special NASA displays.
“It was a marvelous experience to come to Turkey and meet with these young people who aspire to be future scientists, engineers, teachers or astronauts,” said Lindsey, who recently retired as a colonel in the United States Air Force after 24 years of service. “Kaya Tuncer and the Space Camp Turkey staff are helping shape the future leaders of this country and contributing a great deal to international goodwill.”
The Turkish Air Force is hosting Lindsey`s meeting with military officials in Ankara and presentation to cadets at the Turkish Air Force Academy in Istanbul before he returns to the United States on Oct.15 to assume his new duties as chief of NASA`s Astronaut Office.