The Türksat-6A, Turkey's first ever fully homegrown national communication satellite project, has entered its prototype phase after successfully completing the design phase.
According to media reports, Minister of Science, Industry, and Technology Faruk Özlü and Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan recently headed a meeting on the "TÜRKSAT-6A National Communication Satellite Development and Production," project.
The meeting was also attended by the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TÜBİTAK), Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), ASELSAN, and CTech officials. The latest developments in the TÜRKSAT-6A project were discussed at the meeting.
TÜBİTAK Uzay, the main contractor of the project, has successfully completed its design phase, initiated back in 2014. It will soon begin the prototype phase and produce a number of test models.
The financial support for the project came from the Transportation, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Ministry and state satellite operator, Türksat, while TUSAŞ, ASELSAN, CTech, and a number of local industrial organizations and universities provided technical support.
The prototype and testing phase of the TÜRSAT-6A will be completed by 2018 and the satellite is scheduled to be launched in 2020. The construction work for it is ongoing at TUSAŞ's Space Systems Integration and Testing Center (USET). The process is being carried out by Turkish engineers trained in France and Japan.
The TÜRKSAT-6A, unlike Turkey's previous communications satellites, will be the first to be fully developed and produced by Turkey, using local expertise and technology. The satellite's equipment, software, sub-systems and the ground stations, which will also be developed locally, will cost an estimated TL 600 million ($170 million).
The satellite, featuring 23 transponders in total (18 active and five spares), will have a mass of approximately 4,300 kilograms, including fuel. It will be placed in orbit at 42 degrees east longitude, and in addition to serving Turkey, it will also serve customers in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
By successfully placing the TÜRKSAT 6-A in orbit, where it will remain for 15 years, Turkey will join an elite group of 10 countries capable of producing telecommunications satellites. It will also decrease Turkey's current dependence on external producers and launchers of satellites.