Turkey to launch communications satellite in November

The Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Ministry will launch Turkey’s new Türksat 5A communications satellite on Nov. 30, following the satellite’s delivery by the French company Airbus on Oct. 2, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu announced the news at a model satellite competition at the Salt Lake in central Anatolia.

The launch “will be followed by (another satellite,) the 5B,” the minister said. “We will have surprises (in store) at that time. We will be making a statement.”

The competition is aimed at garnering interest in aerospace for Turkey’s youth, Karaismailoğlu said. “This is a competition where students can experience all phases for satellites, from the design of a space system to its implementation,” he added.

One of the teams from the northern Zonguldak province is also working on the launch of the actual satellite, the minister said.

The Airbus Defence and Space Co. signed the contract for Türksat 5A and 5B, Turkey’s first all-electric communications satellites, in 2017. The satellites were manufactured in Britain and France with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as Airbus’s local industrial partner, and will be launched by SpaceX, tech heavyweight Elon Musk’s aerospace company.

"With Turksat 5A, Turkey will have a coverage area that encompasses the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and South Africa," Presidential Digital Transformation Office Director Ali Taha Koç told Anadolu.

“With this project, Turkey will become one of 10 countries in the world that produces its own telecommunication satellites,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech about Türksat 6A, scheduled for 2022.