The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, has announced their plan to deliver the Türksat 6A satellite for ground testing by March 2024. Following this phase, and in accordance with their agreement with Space X, they anticipate launching the satellite, likely in June of the same year.
Minister Uraloğlu visited the Space Systems Integration and Test Center, where Türkiye's first domestic and national communication satellite, Türksat 6A, is being developed. This center is situated at the Turkish Aerospace Industries' (TUSAŞ) campus in Kahramankazan.
During his visit, Minister Uraloğlu emphasized Türkiye's dedication to making an impact on the global stage in space exploration, marking the beginning of what he referred to as the "Turkish Century."
He expressed pride in Türkiye's satellite broadcasting endeavors, which began with Türksat 1B and will reach its zenith with the launch of Türksat 6A. He recalled that the Türksat 6A project was initiated with a protocol signed between the Ministry, TÜBİTAK, and Türksat, with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on December 15, 2014.
Minister Uraloğlu highlighted that the Türksat 6A communication satellite will elevate Türkiye to one of the first 11 nations worldwide capable of producing communication satellites. He explained:
"When Türksat 6A is completed, it will provide services at 42 degrees east longitude, stationed in a geostationary orbit at a distance of 35,786 kilometers from Earth's center. Our domestic and national communication satellite will possess a 7.5-kilowatt power capacity and feature 20 transponders. Türksat 6A will operate within the Ku Band, expanding its coverage to new regions like Southeast Asia, which previous Türksat satellites did not reach."
Minister Uraloğlu further highlighted that the satellite's operational lifespan will extend to 15 years. He stressed that the local production of critical satellite components, such as flight computers, power distribution units, electric propulsion engines, fuel tanks, power processing units, and control systems, will reduce Türkiye's reliance on foreign sources in the satellite and space sector.
Regarding the progress of Türksat 6A, Uraloğlu detailed that the assembly, integration, and testing phases are ongoing in cooperation with Türksat, the Presidency of Defense Industries, and TUSAŞ. He explained:
"At present, the Türksat 6A satellite project comprises three distinct models: the 'Thermal Structural Qualification Model,' the 'Engineering Model,' and the 'Flight Model.' The production, integration, and testing of the 'Thermal Structural' and 'Engineering Models' of the Türksat 6A satellite have been successfully completed. The 'Engineering Model' integration phase has concluded, and a series of tests, including initial functional tests, thermal vacuum tests, vibration tests, acoustic tests, and electromagnetic compatibility tests, have been conducted."
Uraloğlu noted that preparations are underway for the final testing stage, known as the 'System-Level Compact Range Antenna Test' (CATR). He stated that in October, tests for antenna and solar panel deployment will be carried out, while launcher compatibility tests, pyro tests, and final alignment tests will commence in November.
Following the CATR test, Uraloğlu explained that antenna integration and mass property measurements are scheduled for February 2024. He concluded:
"With the successful completion of all these tests, our satellite will be prepared for transport to the launch site. During our visit today, in conjunction with our collaborative partners, we aim to finalize the delivery of the Türksat 6A satellite for ground testing in March. Subsequently, in accordance with our agreement with Space X, we intend to transport it to the launch site, with the likely launch operations taking place in June. The facility we are currently in exemplifies the significant progress Turkish engineering has made in the space industry. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work invested here, which we proudly and wholeheartedly acknowledge."
Minister Uraloğlu extended his gratitude to all those involved in the project on behalf of the Turkish nation and wished for continued success.