Turkey's Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan has announced that a contract will be signed with Airbus Defense and Space (Airbus D&S), the best bidder for the construction of Turksat 5A and 5B satellites, on Nov. 9.
Minister Arslan told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Turkey has operated satellites at three different orbits, namely 31 degrees east, 42 degrees east and 50 degrees east, adding that the 42-degree and 50-degree longitudes are used by TURKSAT satellites and a rental satellite has been operating at 31 degrees east.
Arslan pointed out that the processes related to the Turksat 5A and Turksat 5B satellites have been initiated to launch the Turkish satellite instead of the rental satellite at 31 degrees east.
Noting that the world's three leading firms submitted bids for the construction of satellites including French-British partnership Airbus D&S, Japan's Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Canada-U.S. partnership MDA/Space Systems Loral, Minister Arslan said the three said bidders were deemed sufficient in technical terms but, in the end, Airbus gave the best bid in terms of finance and domestic contribution.
The minister went on to say that the contract will be signed with Airbus D&S in the Global SatShow to be held in Istanbul on Nov. 9, adding that production of the satellites will commence immediately after the signing of the contract.
Minister Arslan stressed that they aim to launch Turksat 5A in 2020 and Turksat 5B in 2021.
He also recalled that they collaborated with the Science, Industry and Technology Ministry as well as the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries regarding Turksat 6A, stating that the Ministry intends to launch the satellite by 2020.
He also indicated that the number of satellites will rise from three to six at the end of the process. "There is a feature in the world that only five countries have the right to first use. This is the new Ku-Band with a frequency bandwidth that has recently come into service," Arslan said. "Turkey will be one of the first countries to use the new Ku-Band frequency. We will have a serious place in space with six communication satellites. We will move up the ladder in this matter, so to speak," he contended.