Turkey manufactured its first communication satellite locally, said an official late Aug. 1 at an annual astronomy festival in the Mediterranean city of Antalya.
Speaking at the National Sky Observation Festival, Lokman Kuzu, head of the Space Technologies Research Institute at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), said Türksat 6B was commissioned to space by engineers of the council.
Kuzu said there are various kinds of satellites ranging from about 10 tons (2,2046) of weight to 10 centimeters (3.93 inches) in diameter.
“There were two other satellites manufactured by Turkish engineers, Rasat and Göktürk 2,” Kuzu said, adding that İmece, a screening satellite, is also on the cards.
Turkey’s satellite operator Türksat broadcasts Turkish series to neighboring countries thanks to its orbital location, he added.
Mesut Gökten, deputy director of the Space Technologies Research Institute, said TÜBİTAK Space was founded in 1985 to carry out space research.
BİLSAT, Turkey’s first screening satellite, started operating in 2003, while Rasat and Göktürk 2, the first indigenous satellites, started operating in 2011 and 2012.
“Rasat is Turkey’s first experimental satellite,” Gökten said. “It was produced just to develop new technologies.”
He added that Turkish engineers also run various projects including an earth station, National Earth Station (MIYEG) and produce software used in satellites.
Cezmi Yilmaz, director of satellite control at Türksat, said Turkey’s satellite fleet covers an area spread across 118 countries and serves up to 3 billion people.
Murat İkinci, head of STM, a defense technologies company, said the research and development facilities focus on aviation and space technologies due to the developments, especially in defense industry in recent years.
İkinci said STM aims to produce microsatellites which are cheaper than ordinary satellites.
“We are carrying out research and development on our microsatellite Lagari, which we plan to send into orbit by 2020,” İkinci said.
“Through microsatellites, we have the chance to send five, six satellites weighing around 70 kilograms [154 pounds] into orbit at a time,” he added, saying they can be used for sea navigation.
The festival will run through Aug. 4.