Turkey wants to conquer space … with a kebab

A small step for a restaurateur, but a huge leap for Turkish gastronomy?

In recent years, we have witnessed a new space race, more than half a century after the Cold War. But behind the United States, which dominates their subject, and China, which is advancing at a dizzying pace, some have to settle for more modest projects. This is the case with Turkey, where a restaurateur has set himself a rather comical goal: to send the most famous local specialty, the kebab, as high as possible in the atmosphere … and possibly in space!

The country first participated in the space race quite recently. The Turkish space agency is still very young since it was founded in 2018. But that does not stop it from being ambitious; last year, the daily Daily Sabah continued the words of President Erdogan, who announced a real space program in good and proper form. The goal: to allow Turkey to join the very closed circle of nations that have left our earthly cradle.

The program is advancing at a high speed and is one of them more promising now. But the first concrete results are expected in 2023 at the earliest; it is on this date that the country plans to send a first mission to the Moon. And by 2030, it’s the first Turkish rover in history to take off to explore our satellite.

Instead of patiently waiting for this very exciting deadline, it was someone with an unexpected profile who took over on a completely different scale and with a project particularly unusual. Interesting Engineering has actually seen a funny story told by the local newspaper Daily Sabah. Yaşar Aydın, a local restaurateur, wants to take Turkey’s culinary gems to new heights – literally.

A stratospheric kebab as a gastronomic ambassador

To do this, he teamed up with entrepreneur and aerospace student İdris Albayrak. The latter founded Alba Loon Space, a startup that intends to produce balloons in the service of atmospheric and space science.

Together, they designed an airtight box that they attached to a helium balloon equipped with cameras and a GPS tracker. Their goal: to send it as high as possible with a kebab on board. They waited for a symbolic date to launch, and the opportunity arose on April 12th.

It’s an important date in space history. This actually marks the anniversary of the very first space flight in history, made by the legendary Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard the famous Vostok. Aydın wanted to honor him in his own way; and he was not disappointed since the most “kebab”fly”Of history has reached 38 kilometers in height! Not sure it stayed warm for particularly long.

Inevitably, the balloon ended up exploding; the box therefore crashed directly into the sea below. But he was not lost for all that; after recovering it thanks to the GPS tracker, Aydın and his team realized that the fish had taken advantage of it. And this teaser took the opportunity to joke with the result of the “mission”. “I think the aliens fired him because he was too pricey. I will send a less spicy kebab next time“, he joked.

Today’s star was sent into the stratosphere using a helium-filled balloon. © Kaburgacı Yaşar / Yaşar Aydın

The first rumkebab is waiting

And the formula is not chosen at random. In fact, this “launch” was the first of what promises to be a fun soap opera. For if the Aydın plain was still far from reaching the Kármán line, the “official” limit of space arbitrarily located at 100 km, it does not intend to stop there. Interesting technique spotted and translated another interview, this time in the newspaper Cumhuriyet, where Aydın clearly announces his intention to make it even better.

We managed to send this kebab to a certain level of the atmosphere, but we may reach even higher in the future, ”He says enthusiastically. Will he reach his goals one day? Nothing is impossible in an era where entrepreneurs can send cars into space on a whim (see our article). And if we rely on the automatic translation of the dialogues (of course it has to be taken with a grain of salt), this actually seems to be its ultimate goal. With a little luck, the advent of the Turkish space program may allow Aydın to reach his oh so unusual goal of officially claiming the first alien kebab.

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