Türkiye’s first astronaut arrived back home on Monday, just days after he returned to Earth after successfully completing a space mission, according to Daily Sabah.

Alper Gezeravcı was greeted by Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacır and other officials after landing in Ankara.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying Gezeravcı and three other members splashed down off the coast of Florida on Friday, completing a return after a nearly three-week stay at the International Space Station (ISS).

He is expected to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later Monday.

Türkiye celebrated Gezeravcı’s launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 19 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A former fighter pilot and captain for Turkish Airlines (THY), he became the first person from his country to fly to space.

The Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crew docked at the ISS on Jan. 20. The spacecraft undocked last Wednesday for a trip back that lasted around 47 hours.

While in orbit, Gezeravcı and his three crewmates from Spain, Italy and Sweden conducted about 30 science experiments, learning more about the impact of microgravity on the human body, advancing industrial processes and more. They also chatted with schoolchildren and officials from their countries.

About half of the experiments were conducted by Gezeravcı alone.

The mission was initially meant to last two weeks, but the return journey was delayed by several days owing to bad weather, resulting in an 18-day stay on the ISS.

Erdoğan said after the crew landed that Türkiye would send many more people to space.

The journey is part of Türkiye’s ambitious 10-year space road map, unveiled in early 2021, including missions to the moon and developing internationally viable satellite systems.

The program envisages working with other countries to build a spaceport and create a global satellite technology brand.