A Turksat-4A communications satellite blasts off at Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome on Feb. 15. Turksat 6A will be Turkey's first indigenous communications satellite. (STRINGER/ / AFP/Getty Images)
ANKARA — Turkey’s efforts to build the country’s first indigenous communications satellite are progressing “at full speed,” government officials have said.
“We are meticulously working on this program, which will be one of our signature projects and pave the way for local production in the field of satellites,” said a senior official from TUBITAK, the state scientific research institute that is building the satellite.
The Turksat 6A will be a communications satellite but also will be used for military communications, officials say.
“It will be an X-band satellite with geostationary Earth orbit features,” the TUBITAK official said.
Industry sources estimate that Turksat 6A will cost Turkey about US $250 million.
TUBITAK’s local subcontractors are military electronics specialist Aselsan, military software concern Havelsan and Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries.
Meanwhile, Turkey also is developing a program to build its first satellite launching center, which it hopes to use in its future satellite programs.
Separately, TUBITAK-UZAY, a space unit of Turkey’s state scientific research institute, is developing, in a program coded “Imece,” electro-optical cameras for satellite projects.
According to a government road map for military and civilian satellites, Turkey plans to send into orbit 16 satellites by 2020. A space industry expert based here said the next five years’ satellite contracts could amount to $2 billion. ■