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Ex-NASA astrophysicist back home to develop science, space studies in Türkiye

An ex-NASA Turkish astrophysicist said he returned to Türkiye to do his utmost to help develop an ecosystem that encompasses numerous research centers in science and space.

“My emotions related to Türkiye resurged,” Umut Yildiz told Anadolu in an exclusive interview, speaking just days after Alper Gezeravci, a fighter jet pilot, took a rocket to the International Space Station, making him Türkiye's very first space traveler.

"I saw that there is much to be done here. Türkiye is particularly underdeveloped in the field of space technologies. What Türkiye needed most was the establishment and development of the space ecosystem. What I want to see in Türkiye is the establishment of more research centers in science and space, along with the formation of more private space companies."

“People will be more inclined to study these fields, and the number of future professions will increase. After seeing progress in space in Türkiye, children will also start learning in these fields. I came here to do my best for the development of this ecosystem in Türkiye.”

Yildiz said he was always interested in stars and celestial bodies, and after completing his undergraduate education in Türkiye, he pursued a master’s degree abroad and later began working at NASA.

“I worked for about eight years on a space telescope, which stayed in space for approximately four years. It was the largest telescope in the world before the James Webb Space Telescope. Later, I joined a department called Deep Space Communication. We refer to all spacecraft we send 2 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) away from Earth as deep space vehicles. They operate based on frequencies like radio.


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