Turkey's first domestic and national communication satellite, the TÜRSAT 6A, was discussed in a special session held in Istanbul on Friday as part of the 3rd Global Satshow, an event that brought together global giants in the satellite and space industry. It was announced that the satellite would be launched in December 2020, and 41 percent of the project has been completed so far.
Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) General Manager Temel Kotil, TÜRKSAT General Manager Cenk Şen, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) Vice President Orkun Hasekioğlu, Şenol Uzun, Business Line Space Technologies at ASELSAN head İbrahim Eren, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) director general and CTech General Manager Cüneyd Fırat gave speeches at the TÜRKSAT 6A National Satellite session held at the 3rd Global Satshow.
The assembly stage of the TÜRKSAT 6A has begun, Kotil said, highlighting that with the orbiter, Turkey will introduce its own satellite for the first time.
"While the design and construction stages of the satellite continue in many areas, including panels, heating and cooling systems, energy systems and self-positioning systems, we are conducting many assembly and test works in our test center in Ankara," Kotil said.
"This center is one of four centers in Europe. In addition to the TÜRKSAT 6A, we launched satellite versions called Small-GEO, weighing 1 to 2 tons, which will be built by TAI for export with its own facilities."
Regarding the first domestic communication satellite, Hasekioğlu recalled that the project's budget approved in 2014 was TL 546 million ($141 million), adding that today, TL 187 million of the budget has been used.
"The TÜRKSAT 6A is scheduled to be ready for launch in December 2020. According to the calendar, the project duration will reach 72 months, or six years. This may seem long, but if you look at examples from abroad and also consider the process of developing a satellite through only domestic resources, this is normal," Hasekioğlu said, adding that the satellite is almost 41 percent complete.
Leading the panel, Şen said that the satellite's production should be carried out with a unique program.
"The satellite is a power, but uncontrolled power is not power. So even though fuel is thought to determine a satellite's lifespan, the expertise of those managing it from earth is also quite decisive here," Şen said.
Uzun said they have produced five of each piece of manufactured equipment for the tests and that they are carrying out the project with a versatile and broad program.
Fırat said their company is designing the communication systems and components that will enable the domestic satellite to communicate with the ground.
"We are now learning how to produce parts for space. Many tests will be conducted on the satellite up to the final flight stage. Hopefully, we will have improved ourselves in many areas in the years ahead," Fırat said.
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