Kaya Tuncer, the founder of Space Camp Turkey and ESBAŞ, was inducted into the “Hall of Fame” at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
The late Kaya Tuncer was inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame at on Aug. 8, during a ceremony at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama . Kaya Tuncer’s wife and Chairwoman of ESBAŞ, Mary Tuncer, their granddaughter Sylvie Cressman, and Director of Space Camp Turkey, Scott Woodham all made remarks at the official induction.
Opening her speech by giving thanks to Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of USA Space and Rocket Center and Charlie Precourt from the ATK company for sponsoring the organization, Mary Tuncer emphasized that when Space Camp first opened back in 2000, Kaya Tuncer had a plaque made to put at the entrance of the building, that reads “A Gift to the Youth of the World”.
“Kaya’s success as a businessman and developer of the Aegean Free Zone gave him opportunities to do many things. What he chose to do reveals his character and what he found important. Space Camp Turkey not only encourages maths and science, but it also promotes global friendship between young people from different countries and prompts their young minds to think of new possibilities,” noted Mary Tuncer. Taking the floor after Mary Tuncer, her granddaughter Sylvie gave a short speech and indicated that she joined Space Camp Turkey this summer for the first time. Kaya Tuncer was my grandfather. Thanks to him, I have been interested in space. After attending Space Camp Turkey for the first time this summer, I look forward to learning more about space. I am happy that I am here to see my grandfather inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame.
Stories of Kaya Tuncer received much attention of the audience, which included special guest of the event Astronaut Charlie Precourt, as well as the other inductees, former NASA astronaut trainer Michelle Ham, and Samantha Cristoforetti, a European Space Agency Astronaut who will be part of a mission to the International Space Station.
Director of Space Camp Turkey Scott Woodham, in his address, remarked that he was part of the project to build a Space Camp in Turkey from the very beginning and described Kaya Tuncer as a risk-taker and a visionary who had a dream and was highly determined to make it happen. Woodham added that it was Kaya`s belief that bringing young people together through education and friendship would contribute to peace around the world. Noting that Tuncer’s goal was to give back to his country by building a Space Camp in the Aegean Free Zone, a model of excellence, Woodham further remarked that, “more than 150 thousand youth and adults from over 50 countries have attended Space Camp Turkey. Nearly 6,000 kids from different countries and cultures have come to Space Camp Turkey on schlolarships via the Global Friendship Through Space Education Foundation. I believe Kaya Tuncer would be proud of that.”
INDUCTEES ARE DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS
The Hall of Fame at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center honors the outstanding members of the Space Camp Family, graduates and former employees who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers and those who have made considerable contributions to further the goals and development of the camp programs. Famous rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun, the first space camp graduate to go to space Astronaut Dotties Metcalf-Lindenburger, and the first director of the Alabama Space and Rocket Center Ed Buckbee are among the 28 names, each more distinguished than the other, inducted into the Hall of Fame.
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