Erdoğan launches Turkey’s first space research center

Erdoğan launches Turkey’s first space research center

Erdoğan launches Turkey’s first space research center

AA Photo

The opening of the country’s first space system integration and satellite testing center constitutes Turkey’s first step towards space, making it an assertive country on space studies, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 21.

“This facility is, for us, in a real sense a first step into space,” he said in his address on the occasion of the opening of the Spacecraft Assembly, Integration and Test Center.

Work to craft the Göktürk-3 satellite is to begin soon, Erdoğan also said.

“Today, Turkish Aerospace Industries [TAI] has already become one of the world’s largest companies in the aviation field,” Erdoğan said, noting Turkey’s aim was to join the list of the top 20 companies.

In 2002, TAI, with $90 million in revenue and 2,000 workers, was almost closed, but now its revenue is exceeding $1 billion, the company has around 5,000 workers and is stands as the world’s 80th largest company in its field, the president said.

These facilities are found in a few countries that have expertise in space studies, Erdoğan noted. 

The Spacecraft Assembly, Integration and Test Center, located northwest of Ankara, in Kazan, will initially test the Göktürk-1 satellite, a civil and military observation satellite to be launched in November.

The center, situated near a military air base, will be capable of testing satellites weighing up to five tons, the company said in a statement May 19. The center, funded by the Defense Ministry and telecommunications firm Türksat, is part of Turkish efforts to break into the international space industry. 

Vibration tests, acoustic tests and solar array deployment are among the tests to be conducted at the TAI-operated site. The production of Turkey’s first native satellite, Türksat 6A, a Turkish communications satellite currently under construction, will be conducted at the center.