As part of its efforts to put Turkish nationals in space by its centennial in 2023, Turkey is preparing to select three candidates, one of whom will don the astronaut suit.
Once recruited under Turkey's National Space Program, all three candidates will undergo two years of rigorous training. Among them, the candidate assessed to be the "most successful" will make the upward journey.
The candidates will be selected based on their skills in conducting scientific studies and their physical abilities, though the list of specific criteria will yet be shaped by specialists in various fields including aeronautics, medicine and psychology, officials from the country's Ministry of Industry and Technology told Anadolu Agency.
The timetable for the launch to the International Space Station will be determined under international cooperation programs. Once there, Turkey's astronaut will conduct various scientific undertakings from biological experiments to space endurance tests for materials developed in Turkey, with the exact content to be determined by deliberations with universities and scientists.
Alongside expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, national space agencies also often look for certain physical qualities in astronaut candidates, who can be chosen from among military ranks or civilians. Experience in aerospace can also be a reason for preference.
To take part in spaceflight and spacewalks, candidates must meet anthropometric requirements, which are tested through various trials. They also have to have perfect eyesight in both eyes at short and long distances, and not suffer from blood pressure conditions.
Those who conduct scientific studies in space must not consume alcohol or smoke, or have any illness or psychological condition. They must have normal joint and bone structure as well as the mental, personal and spiritual abilities to fulfill the space mission.
* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara