SpaceNews : SpaceX launches Turkey’s first home-grown communications satellite

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TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX launched Turkey’s first domestically built communications satellite July 8 toward geostationary orbit.

Turksat 6A, to be operated by state-owned satellite operator Turksat, lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 7:30 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The satellite separated from the rocket around 35 minutes later in geostationary transfer orbit and will use onboard electric propulsion to reach its operating position at 42 degrees East.

The Falcon 9’s first-stage booster also successfully landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean for reuse after supporting its 15th mission, marking SpaceX’s 328th successful recovery of an orbital class rocket.

Turkey’s debut

Turksat 6A is fitted with Ku- and X-band transponders to provide satellite TV and communications services over parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including four countries not currently covered by Turksat: India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Work started on the 4,250-kilogram spacecraft around a decade ago and has involved several local industrial groups, including the TÜBİTAK Space Technologies Research Institute. 

Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, Turkey’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, said the first signal from Turksat 6A had been received in post on X shortly after launch.

The satellite is a “symbol of our independence in space,” he said in an X post earlier in the day, translated by Google.

Turksat lists five other satellites in its geostationary fleet: Turksat 3A built by Thales Alenia Space, Turksat 4A and 4B by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) and Airbus-built Turksat 5A and 5B.

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