With a 30-year lifetime, Turkey's fifth-generation satellite, the Türksat 5A, will secure the country’s orbital rights, an executive at global aerospace company Airbus said Monday.
“Türksat 5A will secure the orbital rights of Turkey,” said Jean-Marc Nasr, head of space systems for Airbus.
Turkey is expected to send the new-generation communication satellite, equipped with the latest technology and higher capacity, into orbit later this month.
The broadcast satellite will provide television services and improve broadband data networks.
Citing a production contract for the Türksat 5A between Türksat Satellite Communications and Cable TV Operations Company (Türksat) and Airbus Defense and Space, Nasr told Anadolu Agency (AA) that efforts to produce the satellite had started immediately after the deal was signed on Nov. 9, 2017.
The final integration phase of the satellite has been completed despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Nasr said, adding that it could be launched at the end of this month.
However, the launch date may be delayed due to various reasons including meteorological conditions and technical launcher requirements, he noted.
“Latest technologies used in fifth-generation satellites allow a significant increase in the lifetime of the satellite while reducing its launching weight,” Nasr said.
He added that the Türksat 5A would be able to perform more comprehensive operations thanks to its longer lifetime.
“While the capacity of Turkey's fifth-generation satellite Türksat 5A will be 45% up, its lifetime will be two times more compared to previous generations,” Nasr highlighted.
Noting that the satellite would sit in fixed orbit on the broadcast band of the 31st meridian east, Nasr said it would weigh 3.5 tons at launch.
The satellite will cover Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and large regions of Africa. It will provide television services and improve broadband data networks.
Türksat 5A was built in collaboration between Türksat, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Airbus Defense and Space.
It is scheduled for launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the U.S. state of Florida.
Nasr praised the efforts of Türksat and the Turkish engineers, who have been involved for months in the satellite's production, saying: “Our ties with Türksat are based on trust and professionalism.”
"We are working with very qualified engineers and learn a lot from each other," he said.
He underlined that the fact that production kept going despite COVID-19-related lockdowns and travel restrictions showed the cooperation and mutual trust between the two companies.
Another Airbus-Türksat satellite 5B is also under construction.
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu recently said the Türksat 5B is expected to be sent into orbit in the second quarter of 2021.
The country is also working on building its own Türksat 6A. The production is ongoing and is using completely domestic sourcing in the capital Ankara.
It is a product of the collaboration between the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry as well as organizations and companies such as leading defense firm Aselsan, TAI and CTech, along with Türksat and the country’s top scientific body, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK).
It will place Turkey among 10 countries capable of producing their own satellites.
The contract for Türksat 6A was signed on Dec. 15, 2014. The satellite is expected to be launched in 2022.