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GÖKTÜRK-1: A Shared Project for Turkey

GÖKTÜRK-1 is a joint program of Telespazio (prime contractor) and Thales Alenia Space for the Turkish Ministry of Defence (SSB, Presidency of Defence Industries). The agreement planned a satellite for Earth observation with a high-resolution optical sensor, a satellite integration and test center in Ankara (inaugurated in 2015), and the complete ground segment, which is in charge of mission control, in-orbit operation, data acquisition and processing. 

The Turkish industry has been involved in the system design and development, as well as in the supply of certain Göktürk-1 system components. Local partners contributed to the creation of the Data Acquisition Station, the Satellite Integration Center, and the acquisition programming systems for processing and storing the images. The main local industrial partners involved are Turkish Aeropsace, Aselsan, TÜBİTAK BILGEM, Roketsan.

The European Space Agency’s VEGA launcher, built in Italy by ELV, formed by AVIO (70%) and the Italian Space Agency (30%), was selected for the launch of GÖKTÜRK-1. The satellite was launched on 5 December 2016 by Arianespace from the European spaceport in Kourou, in French Guiana. 

Leonardo participates in the program directly and through its joint ventures Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space.

As prime contractor and system integrator, Telespazio – a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and  Thales (33%) - has been responsible for the entire ground segment, both fixed and mobile, which will provide the in-orbit management, and the data acquisition and processing. Telespazio has been also responsible for the launch services, early orbit phase, and testing of the satellite. 

Thales Alenia Space – a joint venture between (Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) - has built the satellite and has developed the integration and test center in Turkey, an infrastructure designed to simultaneously integrate different satellites. Derived from the Proteus platform developed by Thales Alenia Space, the GÖKTÜRK-1 satellite includes a high-resolution optical instrument, which is the result of the company’s strong experience in this field.

The GÖKTÜRK-1 satellite has a dry weight of about 1,000 kg and a design life of seven years. Its observation payload includes an onboard X-band digital imaging system to handle data compression, storage, and downloading. From its sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude lower than 700 km, the satellite’s revisit time over Turkey will be less than two days. 

The Leonardo also provided the SIREUS sensor, a micro-electromechanical technology (MEMS) gyroscope, which serves for the initial determination of the satellite position.

Thales Alenia Space, in the frame of the GÖKTÜRK-1 contract with Telespazio, has been the first company in the space industry to deliver a turnkey integration and test center. The Class 100,000 clean rooms, spanning more than 3,000 square metres, houses all the latest-generation equipment needed for satellite integration and testing. The systems include a test for mechanical vibrations (shaker), an acoustics testing room of 950 cubic meters, a thermal vacuum chamber of 350 cubic meters, a testing ground for compact antennas and support for the deployment of solar panels and antennas. Other resources include a system for testing the physical properties of the satellites (weight, center of gravity, inertia) and verification systems for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).