Turkey Unveils 10-Year National Space Program

President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN announced Turkey`s National Space Program with a ceremony held on February 9, 2021. In a major milestone, the ambitious 10-year space road map includes missions to the Moon, sending Turkish scientist into international space station (ISS), and developing internationally viable satellite systems by 2023. The program, prepared by the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) and led by the Ministry of Industry and Technology, was announced at the Beştepe National Congress and Culture Center in the capital Ankara. Speaking at the live event, President ERDOĞAN said the first goal of the comprehensive program was to touch down on the Moon in 2023, the centennial of the founding of the Turkish Republic. " Our first goal is to land on the Moon by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. I believe Turkish engineers will manage to carry out this mission," he said. ERDOĞAN also declared Turkey`s aim to send Turkish Scientist into space with international cooperation, to partner with other countries to build a spaceport, and to create a global brand in satellite technology. I hope that this roadmap will come to life successfully and will propel Turkey into the top league in the global space race. Our feet will be on Earth, but our eyes will be in space. Our roots will be on Earth; our branches will be up in the sky." Goals of the National Space Program Unveiling the program, President ERDOĞAN also outlined its primary objectives saying the "primary and most important goal in the National Space Program is to make the first contact with the Moon on the 100th anniversary of the Republic. "We will realize the first launch that will bring our spacecraft into close orbit with international cooperation. The first stage of the launch vehicle will be of foreign origin, while the second stage will utilize Turkish rockets. At the end of 2023, we will reach the Moon with our national and unique hybrid rocket that we will launch into near-Earth orbit and will complete a hard landing," he added. "Our second goal in the National Space Program is to create a trademark that can compete globally in the field of next-generation satellite development. In the second phase in 2028, we will take our vehicle into close orbit, and we will conduct the first launch with these national rockets. The third goal in the National Space Program is to develop a regional positioning and timing system. The fourth objective is to provide access to space and establish a spaceport. The next goal is to increase competence in space by investing in space weather or meteorology. The sixth target is to establish astronomical observation posts and to elevate Turkey’s capabilities to a higher level in tracking space objects from the ground. The seventh goal is further to develop the economy of the country`s space industry. The next goal in our space program is to establish a space technology development zone. The ninth goal is to develop our effective and competent human resources in the field of space. The tenth and final goal in the Space Program is to send a Turkish citizen into space," ERDOĞAN said. President ERDOĞAN also underlined Turkey’s plan to establish a spaceport while ensuring access to space. "Our national and domestic rockets should be capable of carrying heavy payloads into Earth`s orbit," he underlined. Noting that Turkey`s geographical location is not convenient for establishing the spaceport, ERDOĞAN said Turkey would cooperate with allied countries in the most suitable geographic areas. Stating that another goal of the program is to increase its competitiveness in space by investing in space meteorology, ERDOĞAN said, "Turkey would boost its efficiency in astronomical observations and tracking space objects from Earth. We will contribute to identifying and tracking of objects in Earth`s orbit." In addition, president ERDOĞAN noted that a Space Technology Development Region will be established to welcome domestic and foreign investors. Noting that the country will develop effective and qualified human resources in space studies, he said the final goal is to send a Turkish citizen into space with a scientific mission. Touching on the government`s efforts, ERDOĞAN said TRY2.1 billion has been provided for 56 projects on satellite, space launching systems, and space equipment in the last 18 years. "We have developed and produced several critical subsystems such as a high-resolution space camera, a new-generation flight computer and software, an ion thruster, a steerable antenna, a reaction wheel, and a sun sensor," he noted. Under the program, Turkey will further develop the economy of its space industry, ERDOĞAN stressed. "We will carry the success we have achieved in the defense industry to the space arena and ensure the formation of a strong and productive ecosystem," he noted. President ERDOĞAN added that the program also includes the high-resolution provider GÖKTÜRK-3 and TÜRKSAT-6A, which is set to launch in 2022. He said the communication satellite, TÜRKSAT-5A, has already been launched into space. On January 8, Turkey launched the new-generation communication satellite TÜRKSAT-5A into orbit from the U.S. in cooperation with SpaceX. The TÜRKSAT-5B satellite is planned to be launched in the second quarter of 2021. In addition to TÜRKSAT-5A, Turkey has several other satellites currently in space. Three of the satellites are for communication, namely TÜRKSAT-3A, TÜRKSAT-4A, and TÜRKSAT-4B, while the other three, GÖKTÜRK-1, GÖKTÜRK-2, and RASAT, are for observation. Turkey has also manufactured a domestic high-resolution satellite called İMECE, which is expected to be launched in 2022

Date: Issue 105 - April 2021