Kaya Tuncer’s Name Inducted at World’s Biggest Space Museum
The founder of ESBAŞ, the late Kaya Tuncer, was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama during a ceremony on Aug. 6. ESBAŞ Chairwoman, Mary Tuncer, her granddaughter Sylvie Cressman and Director of Space Camp Turkey, Scott Woodham all made presentations to an audience of nearly 300.
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.
Opening her speech by giving thanks to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center officials and the organization committee, 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 Tuncer’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 opens their young minds to new possibilities,” noted Mary Tuncer.
Mary Tuncer stated that Global Friendship Through Space Education Foundation – a non-profit organization – was founded to boost attendance at Space Camp as it did not receive the intended attention in its initial years. “Over the years, this foundation evolved into something wonderful. Now, every summer Space Camp Turkey offers eight international sessions. I am proud to continue what Kaya Tuncer started and offer this often life-changing experience to the youth of the world,” stated 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. “Thanks to my grandfather, I have been interested in space. After attending Space Camp Turkey, I look forward to learning more about space. I would like to invite all of my peers to come and see Space Camp Turkey.”
Director of Space Camp Turkey Scott Woodham, in his address, remarked that he has been a part of the project to build a Space Camp in Turkey since the very beginning and defined Kaya Tuncer as a risk-taker and a visionary who had a dream and was highly determined to make it happen. Woodham added that in Kaya Tuncer’s opinion 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 at a center of excellence, the Aegean Free Zone, Scott Woodham said, “More than 150 thousand youth and adults from over 50 countries came to Space Camp Turkey for education. Kids from different countries and cultures came to Space Camp Turkey via Global Friendship Through Space Education Foundation to become a part of the science and space activities. I believe Kaya Tuncer would be proud of that.”
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