Turkey launched Göktürk-1, a satellite developed to provide target intelligence and imagery for military and civilian purposes, via a Vega launch vehicle, from the European Space Center in French Guiana.
The launch, that took place through a live event at 4:52 p.m, was attended by President Tayyip Erdoğan, and was organized by the Air Force Command and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries at the Turkish Aerospace Industries’ (TAI) Akıncı Air Base.
With the launch of Göktürk-1, Turkey’s eye in the sky, the country now has six active satellites in space.
Göktürk-1, with its ability to shoot high-resolution images, fast data-downloading capability, maneuvering caliber and developed location systems , will reinforce Turkey’s influence in space, alongside its predecessor Göktürk-2.
The Reconnaissance Satellite Battalion, under the supervision of the Turkish Air Force, will command and control the satellite and will record data in an inventory following orbit tests and admission phases. The launch ceremony, which marked a historical and revolutionary step in Turkey’s integration into space technologies, was attended by President Erdoğan. Speaking at the ceremony, Erdoğan thanked everyone contributing to the success of the project. Underscoring that Göktürk-1 will provide target intelligence for the Turkish Armed Forces; he elaborated its other civilian uses, including monitoring marine pollution, forestry and harvest forecasts.
He said Göktürk-1 demonstrates Turkey’s strong commitment to space research. President Erdoğan also stressed on the necessity of designing and developing satellites locally that require cutting-edge technology. Referring to a recent embargo imposed by Austria, he said, “These actions reinforce our will and ambition to develop our own national defense industry.”
Göktürk-1 is a high resolution earth observation satellite (greater than 50 cm) designed and developed for the Turkish Ministry of National Defence by the Italian space service company Telespazio with technological input from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ) and Aselsan of Turkey.
The agreement to build Göktürk-1 was signed on July 13, 2009 between the Ministry of National Defence and Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales Group joint venture company, taking effect on July 19, 2009. Thales Alenia Space is in charge of supplying the satellite bus. Within the framework of the project, a facility for assembly, integration and testing of spacecraft (UMET) up to 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb) mass will be established in Turkey, which is considered as a critical infrastructure. The project is valued at more than € 250m.
The satellite with 0.80 m (2 ft 7 in) resolution is intended for use of reconnaissance over any location on earth without geographical restriction. Additionally, it will carry out various civil applications on mapping and planning, landcover survey, geology, ecosystem monitoring, disaster management, environmental control, coastal zone management, and water resources.