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Russia ready to train Turkish astronaut as space tourist in half a year

Roscosmos head earlier said that the training of Turkish cosmonauts in the Gagarin Research&Test Training Center is possible and offered the corresponding proposal to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

ZHUKOVSKY /Moscow Region/, August 28. /TASS/. The Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center is ready to train a Turkish astronaut as an unprofessional participant of a space mission (a tourist) in half a year, head of the center Pavel Vlasov told journalists on Wednesday.

"It [the possibility of training Turkish astronauts in the Center] was announced just yesterday, so today this issue did not go any further yet. It is possible to arrange it in time, but recruitment is needed first. In half a year a person will be ready to participate in a space mission," Vlasov said.

He said that the Center has trained more than 100 foreign astronauts and members of space missions in its whole history.

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin earlier said that the training of Turkish cosmonauts in the Center is possible. He offered the corresponding proposal to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, and the latter agreed to it.

In May 2018, Turkey’s plans to launch its own program for astronauts’ training after 2023 emerged. Ankara is going to spend about $6 billion on the implementation of this project, and the legislative basis for it was prepared back in the autumn of 2016. In October 2017, then-Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reported about the authorities’ intention to build the county’s own space station.

In addition, Turkey hopes to end the development and production of the domestic communication satellite TURKSAT-6A by 2020. In 2015, the Turkish Center for Space Systems Integration and Testing - which gathered powers for a full assembly cycle and satellites’ testing - was opened in Ankara. The base makes it possible to assemble equipment at several spacecraft at a time, integrate various systems, carry out testing and preparations for the transportation of vehicles to launching pads for space launch.