Turkey on Tuesday put into service its latest telecommunication satellite that will offer services over Turkey, the Middle East and parts of Africa, in what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dubbed a new phase in the country’s space journey.
Türksat 5B satellite was launched in December on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida. It was launched to geostationary transfer orbit, where it reached 42 degrees East to provide high throughput Ka and Ku-band services.
“The Türksat 5B satellite will make our TV and broadband satellite capacity uninterrupted from Africa and the Middle East to Asia,” Erdoğan told a ceremony in the capital Ankara.
“Geographical problems will now disappear. Everyone will be able to use the internet easily from anywhere.”
The orbiter that will serve for 30 years will ensure that the “frequency and territorial rights of our country are also protected,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey signed an agreement with the global aerospace company Airbus in 2017 for the production of the Türksat 5B and 5A satellites, the latter of which was sent into space in January last year.
Türksat 5B reached its destination on May 17 and underwent successful performance and orbit tests. It will cover a wide area that includes the whole Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, parts of Africa, as well as neighboring countries.
It will have a useful payload capacity that will exceed all satellites to date and will boost Turkey’s communication capacity by fifteenfold, officials have said.
Erdoğan stressed that Türksat 5B would add pace to Turkey’s efforts to further extend communication and internet infrastructure.
He said it would provide support to disaster and emergency services to maintain communication in rural and mountainous areas.
“Expansion of the fiber internet infrastructure is another issue that we must definitely solve. We are aware that we are proceeding slowly on this issue,” Erdoğan said, adding that the government would incentivize companies in the field to ensure rapid development.
“We will also support the establishment of a common structure that will take fiber to the countryside. We will also quickly remove the obstacles to the rapid dissemination of fiber infrastructure. We will have made our country ready for 5G.”
“We will have completed the fiber infrastructure in a short time in the same way we had equipped our country with roads and airports in the last 20 years,” Erdoğan said.
Indigenous observation orbiter to be launched
Türksat 5B will increase the number of Turkey’s active communication satellites to five and the total number of satellites to eight, a figure that Erdoğan said would soon reach 10.
The production of the domestic Türksat 6A satellite is also ongoing in Ankara, where assembly, integration and tests are being carried out.
The orbiter will be to be sent into space in mid-2023, Erdoğan said.
It is a product of the collaboration between the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry as well as organizations and companies such as leading defense firm Aselsan, TAI and CTech, along with Türksat and the country’s top scientific body, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK).
It will place Turkey among the 10 countries capable of producing their own satellites.
Türksat 6A will have been put into service “at this time next year,” Erdoğan noted.
Turkey will also launch its indigenous high-resolution observation satellite IMECE to space in January, Erdoğan said.
The fifth-generation Türksat 5A was also launched via SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Officials say the communication satellite that entered into service in June last year will also help secure Turkey’s orbital rights and will serve for 35 years.
Resting in an unused Turkish orbital slot at 31 degrees East, the satellite is offering broadcasting services to wide geography that covers Europe, the Middle East and large regions of Africa as well as the Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea region.