SpaceX launched a Turkish communications satellite into orbit late on Jan. 7.
The technology company’s Falcon 9 rocket launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the U.S. state of Florida, carrying the Turksat 5A satellite.
The satellite gave its first signal 35 minutes after launch, the country’s transport and infrastructure minister said.
Adil Karaismailoğlu said the Turksat 5A satellite is on the way to settling into its orbit.
“This journey will take four months. We will then conduct our tests and the satellite will be activated,” he said.
The mission marks the first launch in 2021 for SpaceX.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Turkish Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Ömer Fatih Sayan called Turksat 5A “one of the newest generation satellites that give us the opportunity to improve our capability in space.”
“With Turksat 5A, we would be firstly protecting our orbital rights and we would be providing commercial services by means of broadcasting and communications, especially internet services with the Ku-band to the rural areas,” he told reporters in front of SpaceX’s mission control center in Cape Canaveral.
Sayan said it will take about 140 days for Turksat 5A to enter into its orbit. Then the satellite will be tested for a month. It will be controlled at the Turksat facility in the capital Ankara.
“Built by Airbus Defense and Space with significant Turkish contributions, the Turkish 5A satellite will provide Ku-band television broadcast services over Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and Africa,” according to SpaceX’s website.
The satellite will carry 42 transponders and will be located in an unused Turkish orbital slot at 31 degrees East.
Karaismailoğlu said last year that new communication satellites, including the Turksat 5A, 5B and 6A, will make the country more powerful in space.
Liftoff was previously planned, but the launch was postponed several times.
‘Turkey secures its orbital rights for 30 years with Turksat 5A’
With the newly launched Turksat 5A satellite, Turkey’s active satellites in space will rise to seven, Turkey’s president said on Jan. 8 adding that the country has secured its orbital rights for 30 years.
“Our goal is to settle Turksat 6A, the first communication satellite produced by Turkey, into orbit in 2022,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the special session of Satellite Technologies Week via video conference at Vahdettin Mansion.
He went on to say that Turkey is planning to launch its indigenous high-resolution observation satellite IMECE to space next year.
“So we have raised the number of active satellites in space to seven,” he said, referring to the newly launched Turksat 5A satellite.
Turkey will also announce its 2021-2030 National Space Program soon, Erdoğan added.
Turksat 5A satellite was launched Friday morning using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US state of Florida.