Goktug Karacalioglu
ISU SSP Academic Coordinator

During his secondary school years, everyone was thinking that Göktuğ (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 prefered departments” before you enter the nation-wide university enterence 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 started his PhD on Operations Research, but having no supervisor to accept him to write a thesis related to space, he decided to move to France. There, he worked as the participant liaison for SSP13, then joined the MSS14, 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 selected as the participant liaison for SSP16 in Israel and recently appointed as the Academic Coordinator for SSP17 and SSP18.

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. Currently, he is the managing editor of the Journal of Space Safety Engineering published by Elsevier and volunteering in organizing space conferences and events.

All of the above, though, is Göktuğ’s "job" jobs. The moment he switches off his computer (and yes, he loves to do that!), he either starts dancing or traveling! With more than 40 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 locations from French Guiana to Cape Canaveral, from Alcantara to Baikonur Cosmodrome, from Vandenberg to Kodiak in Alaska. His next destination will possibly be Esrange in Sweden and hopefully, one day, 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 te national administrator of World Dance Sport Federation. To sum up, if you occasionally notice him dancing in his office while reading a technical article, don’t be surprised! ☺

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