Turkey chooses SpaceX Falcon 9 for country’s first domestic satellite


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Turkey has selected SpaceX for the launch of the country’s first communications satellite, a mission that will fly from Florida aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

The country’s transport and infrastructure ministry said on Friday it had selected the nine-engine, 230-foot rocket for the launch of Turksat-6A, a communications satellite that will be used for commercial and government purposes. It will be the country’s first locally produced satellite without outsourcing the process to others like Airbus Defense and Space, which built the predecessors Turksat-5A and 5B.

“The project’s engineering model integration activities have been completed and the testing phase has started,” Adil Karaismailoglu, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, said on Friday. “Before the end of this year, it is expected that the satellite flight model integration activities will be completed and the environmental testing phase will begin. “

The satellite, he said, is expected to be completed before the end of 2022. Falcon 9 will launch it from one of its locations in Florida – pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center or Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force. Station – no earlier than the first quarter of 2023.

A render of the Turkish satellite Turksat-6A on top of an already flown Falcon 9 rocket.  The satellite is expected to launch from Florida no earlier than the first quarter of 2023.

The decision to launch on Falcon 9 came after reviewing the pricing, technical factors and leadership qualities of several launch vendors. Karaismailoglu also said that Turksat-6A makes Turkey one of 10 countries capable of producing its own satellites.

In January, a Falcon 9 launched 5A from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral space station. The Follow-up 5B, meanwhile, will fly the same family of rockets from the Space Coast later this year or early 2022.

Turkey, a longtime ally of the United States and a member of NATO, is on a wild ride to advance its defense, technology and space industries. Several private and government organizations are involved in the efforts, which include previously reported talks with Somalia to potentially build a billion-dollar spaceport there.

For the latest information, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.

Note: The quotes and details of this story have been translated from Turkish to English by the reporter.

Contact Emre Kelly at [email protected] or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly. Support space journalism by subscribing to floridatoday.com/specialoffer/.

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