ISU Alumnus Göktuğ Karacalıoğlu Nominated SHSSP20 & SSP20 Director


The International Space University ISU is pleased to announce the appointment of Arif Göktuğ Karacalıoğlu as director of the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program SHSSP 2020 and Space Studies Program SSP 2020. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this demanding role.

Göktuğ, also known as G2, is very enthusiastic about this nomination and said:

"We are living in an era where the space sector is expanding in multiple domains with different trends and specificities. At ISU, we hand-pick great minds from various backgrounds ranging from science to art, economics to engineering, and provide them with a top-level live-in educational experience. A large part of this experience is the opportunity to interact with world-renowned experts and create ever-lasting bonds among each other as the future leaders of the global space community.

Having worked with three former SSP directors detached from NASA, I am very honored and excited to take over this role. In the near term, we will prioritize our support to female applicants as well as applicants from under-represented countries to form a truly international and gender-balanced class. We are also working to enhance our curriculum to constantly trigger our participants’ out-of-the-box thinking, and to give them the mindset to put forward cross-discipline and cross-industry ideas."

Göktuğ’s itinerary is impressive! Holding a BS in Mechanical Engineering, a MS in Engineering Management from Middle East Technical University (METU), Turkey, he worked as a launch systems design engineer in ROKETSAN for six years. As he was working on his PhD on Operations Research (OR), he joined ISU as a participant in SSP10, Strasbourg.

In 2013, he moved to France, worked as the participant liaison for SSP13, joined the MSS14 class, wrote a report about launch vehicle failures which won the SGAC scholarship award, graduated with cum laude. In 2014, he moved to California to carry out research at NASA Ames Research Center, where he worked on small spacecraft and space debris mitigation projects for two years, wrote a report on the “Impact of New Trends in Satellite Launches on Orbital Debris Environment” which won the SGAC scholarship award for the second time. In 2016, he was once again called as the participant liaison for SSP16 in Israel and decided to stay with ISU in Europe. Since then, he served as the Academic Coordinator for four ISU programs: SSP17 in Ireland, SSP18 in The Netherlands, and SHSSP18 and SHSSP19 in Australia, during which he also served as the managing editor of the Journal of Space Safety Engineering published by Elsevier. In 2018, he finished his second Master’s thesis on "Interchangeable Payload Swarm Drones" in coordination with SES, Luxembourg. He then served as assistant to the SSP Director for SSP19.

ISU has recently given Göktuğ the mission of Director for SHSSP and SSP programs in 2020 - a mission that he will carry out until September 2020.

All of the above, though, is as Göktuğ explains it himself “Göktuğ’s "job" jobs”. The moment he switches off his computer, he either starts dancing or traveling! With 6 continents and more than 55 countries already checked in his list, he is addicted to exploring remote destinations with his good old camera. His personal interest in launchers and launch sites has dragged him to many remote locations from Kourou in French Guiana to Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg in US, from Alcantara in Brazil to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, from Wenchang in China to Kodiak in Alaska. His next destination will possibly be Esrange in Sweden, or Andoyya in Norway, or hopefully, one day, Concordia in Antarctica!

He used to be a competitive ballroom dancer during many years. Currently, he holds a dancesport adjudicator’s license and enjoys organizing, watching and judging ballroom competitions. He is the head of dancesport technical commission in Turkey as well as the national administrator of World Dance Sport Federation. To sum it up, if you notice him dancing in his office while reading a technical article, don’t be surprised!

ISU is delighted that yet another of its alumni has taken a key role within the organization and the space sector.