Goktug Karacalioglu
ISU SSP Deputy Director

During his secondary school years, everyone was thinking that Göktug (a.k.a. G2) will excel in literature and become a writer. Nope, he had surprised them all by picking “science” as his primary discipline and this was the beginning of his technical career.

In Turkey, you have to make a “sorted list of preferred departments” before you enter the nation-wide university entrance examination. He prepared such a list to put himself into “aeronautics engineering” but when the results were announced, he found himself studying “mechanical engineering”! Luckily he managed to take some astronautics classes which kept him alive! He then switched to Engineering Management for his masters and simultaneously worked as a launch systems design engineer in ROKETSAN for six years.

This was when he first joined ISU as a participant in SSP10 in Strasbourg. He then started his PhD on Operations Research (OR), but having no supervisor to accept him to write an OR thesis related to space in Turkey, he decided to move to France. There, he worked as the participant liaison for SSP13, then joined the MSS14 class, wrote a report about launch vehicle failures which won the SGAC scholarship award, graduated with cum laude, moved to California to work as a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center, 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 to SSP16 in Israel and decided to stay with ISU in Europe. He served as the Academic Coordinator for four ISU programs: SSP17 in Ireland, SSP18 in The Netherlands, and SHSSP18 and SHSSP19 in Australia. In 2018, he finished his second Masters Thesis on "Interchangeable Payload Swarm Drones" in coordination with SES, Luxembourg. He has recently been appointed as the Deputy Director for SSP19.

Oh, while doing all these, his old passion “to write” haunted! He started writing in the Space Safety Magazine and switched to NewSpace News when he moved to US. Coming back to Europe, he served as the managing editor of the Journal of Space Safety Engineering published by Elsevier and volunteered in organizing several space conferences and events.

All of the above, though, is Göktug’s "job" jobs. The moment he switches off his computer (and yes, he loves to do that!), he either starts dancing or traveling! With 6 continents and more than 50 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 his undergrad years. Currently, he is holding a dancesport adjudicator’s license and enjoys organizing, watching and judging ballroom competitions. Since 2014 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 occasionally notice him dancing in his office while reading a technical article, don’t be surprised!☺

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