July 12, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Discovery

SpaceX launches Türksat 6A, Turkey’s first domestically manufactured satellite – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Station. It carried the TÜRKSAT 6A satellite into geostationary transfer orbit. Image: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight Now

Update 8:10 pm EDT: SpaceX confirms deployment of Türksat 6A satellite.

Turkey launched its first domestically-made communications satellite on Monday afternoon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Ahead of the mission's launch, Turkey's Transport and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu called the Türksat 6A geostationary satellite “the symbol of our independence.”

Although this is not the first Türksat satellite to be launched, it is a source of national pride because it is the first of its kind to be built entirely in Turkey. Uraloğlu said that Turkey is the 11th country capable of manufacturing its own communications satellites.

Liftoff for the mission from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station took place at 7:30 p.m. EDT (2330 UTC), following multiple launch window changes due to inclement weather.

Following the launch, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his gratitude to SpaceX and its founder Elon Musk in a statement on X (formerly Twitter), saying that his country is “pleased to strengthen our cooperation with Mr. Elon Musk and SpaceX in various fields.” Earlier this year, SpaceX also provided a ride to the International Space Station for Turkish astronaut Alper Gezeravcı, who served as a mission specialist during the private astronaut mission, dubbed Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3).

SpaceX also launched other satellites for Türksat, including the Türksat 5B satellite, which was launched on December 18, 2021.

“Together, we have witnessed another source of pride for our country and our nation,” Erdoğan wrote in X. “As Turkey, we have produced more than 81 percent of the subsystems, satellite ground stations and software in the 6A project, which is of great importance for the future of our country in space, with national resources.”

“Also, with the entry With the entry into service of Türksat 6A, Türkiye will become a joint ventureUntry capable of producing communication satellites. Thanks to the technology and experienceWith the experience gained, our country will havemy a market“We are committed to participating in the design and production of satellites and their components,” he added.Production of critical technologies such as communications.“The fact that satellites are not dependent on foreign sources is also of great importance to our national security.”

SpaceX was facing less-than-ideal weather conditions ahead of liftoff. On Sunday, the 45th Weather Squadron forecast only a 30 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for liftoff for both the prime and backup dates.

Forecasters were tracking a weak ridge that brought afternoon thunderstorms to the area to start the week, which were capable of producing winds of 40 miles per hour or more.

“Convective activity should diminish after sunset, but steering winds are expected to be weak, possibly prolonging any violations of weather rules that occur. Conditions are expected to be similar for the backup day,” the weather report said. “Cumulus cloud, anvil cloud, and surface electric fields are the rules likely to be violated on both the main and backup days.”

Close-up of the Falcon 9 rocket supporting the launch of the Türksat 6A satellite. Image: Michael Cain/Spaceflight Now

The Falcon 9 first-stage rocket supporting this mission, B1076 in the SpaceX fleet, launched for the 15th time. It previously launched SpaceX’s 26th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-26) mission to the International Space Station, the 16th batch of OneWeb satellites, and eight Starlink flights, among others.

Just over 8.5 minutes after liftoff, B1076 landed on SpaceX's unmanned Just Read the Instructions spacecraft. This was the 86th landing at JRTI and the 328th rocket landing to date.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars through the clouds over Florida's Space Coast, carrying the TÜRKSAT 6A satellite into geostationary transfer orbit. Image: Michael Cain/Spaceflight Now

Expanding communication capabilities

About 70 minutes after liftoff, the Türksat 6A satellite reached its temporary orbit. Its operational orbital position will be at longitude 42 East, in a geocentric orbit about 35,786 km above the Earth's surface.

“Our local and national communications satellite, which will have a power of 7.5 kilowatts, will have 20 transponders,” Uraloğlu said in a press release in September 2023. “Our TÜRKSAT 6A satellite will provide service in the Ku band and will also serve new geographical areas such as Southeast Asia, which could not be covered by previous Türksat satellites.”

The 4,250 kg (9,400 lb) satellite is designed to have a 15-year lifespan and will increase Turkey's satellite reach “from 3.5 billion to 5 billion” people. It was manufactured by Turkish Aerospace at the Space Systems Assembly, Integration and Test Center (AIT) with financial backing from both the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSB) and Türksat.

A group of engineers from TÜBITAK and TÜRKSAT pose in front of the Türksat 6A satellite in a clean room. Image: TÜRKSAT

The satellite is powered primarily by a pair of solar panel wings, which are 10 m (32.8 ft) long and have a total area of ​​about 37.7 square metres (405.8 sq ft).

Once in orbit, the satellite will be managed by TÜBITAK (Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu), which stands for Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Institute. The agency is an advisor to Turkey's Supreme Council of Science and Technology.

TÜBITAK said it put the satellite through a series of tests to verify its readiness for launch, including thermal vacuum tests, mechanical stress tests and separation demonstrations. The agency said the panels produce around 9.2 kW of power.

“In this project, we have tested a total of 84 domestic equipment of 24 different types, such as flight computers, power regulation and distribution units, interface control equipment, stargazers, solar sensors, reaction wheels, electric propulsion subsystems and communication equipment,” the agency said in a post on social media, translated by Google. “Türksat 6A is ready for its mission in space!”

For in-orbit maneuvers, the satellite uses Hall-effect propulsion engines (HALE) powered by xenon gas. This is an electric propulsion system developed by TÜBİTAK UZAY (Space Technologies Research Institute).

“With the technologies we produce, we not only create satellites, but we can also export our satellite subsystems and are on our way to becoming a world-class technology provider,” TÜBITAK wrote on social media, according to a Google translation.

Close-up of Hall-Effect Propulsion Engines (HALE) fueled with xenon gas for in-orbit maneuvers. Image: TÜBİTAK

    Leave feedback about this

    • Quality
    • Price
    • Service

    PROS

    +
    Add Field

    CONS

    +
    Add Field
    Choose Image
    Choose Video
    X