Cnews agenciesE CANAVERAL, Fla. (news agencies) — Astronauts from Turkey, Italy and Sweden returned to Earth on Friday, ending a private three-week mission to the International Space Station.
The trio were accompanied by a retired NASA astronaut who now works for Axiom Space, the Houston company that arranged the chartered flight. The crew returned in a SpaceX capsule that parachuted into the Atlantic off the Florida coast.
Gezeravci was joined on the trip by Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei, Sweden’s Marcus Wandt, a former fighter pilot chosen as a reserve astronaut by the European Space Agency in 2022 and Michael Lopez-Alegria, their escort.
Turkey, Italy and Sweden financed the mission, paying roughly $55 million apiece. It was Axiom’s third private mission to the space station; the fourth is planned later this year.
Before leaving the space station, Gezeravci thanked his country for its “bold and determined decision” to send a citizen into space as part of its 100th anniversary as a republic.
While in orbit, the astronauts conducted science experiments and chatted with schoolchildren and officials from their countries. They enjoyed a few extra days at the space station, waiting for the weather to improve in the splashdown zone.
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