By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey's fifth-generation communication satellite Turksat 5A entered into service on Monday with a commissioning ceremony in the capital Ankara.
Launched by US-based space technologies firm SpaceX this January, the satellite orbits along the 31st meridian east.
Attending the ceremony online, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the satellite was ready to serve after tests and preparation efforts.
Turksat 5A will expand the country's communication capacity and protect Turkey's orbital rights, Erdogan stressed, adding that the orbiter was a very important project due to its high added value.
He also said tests for another communication satellite, Turksat 5B, were ongoing and that with this satellite, the country's data capacity would increase 15 fold.
Turkey's indigenous communication satellite project Turksat 6A is undergoing testing, he noted, adding that the satellite is scheduled for launch next year.
Erdogan said that Turksat 6A would make Turkey one of the 10 countries in the world able to produce its own communication satellites.
"The world is entering a new era called the Digital Era, in which production methods are changing radically" along with political, social, economic and cultural power balances, he said.
He said this new era was based on producing information and using data. "This digital production process, which extends to the capillaries in all areas of life, has reached a much different stage with artificial intelligence."
"Turkey firmly embraces the digital age, we're committed to further developing the critical digital infrastructure."
– More capacity
Also attending the event, Turkey's Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said Turksat 5A has 30% more capacity compared to previous communication satellites.
He said that the new satellite would serve for 35 years, protecting the country's orbital rights.
On Turksat 5B, he said design and production processes were continuing and that it would be launched in the last quarter of this year by SpaceX via a Falcon 9 rocket.
– Turksat 5A
With Turksat 5A, Turkey will offer TV broadcasting services to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as data communication services to its entire coverage area.
The number of Turkey's active communication satellites in space has now reached four, alongside Turksat 3A, 4A, and 4B. The total number of active Turkish satellites in orbit, on the other hand, is seven, including the Gokturk-1, Gokturk-2, and Rasat observation orbiters.
The first signal from Turksat 5A was received 35 minutes after it was successfully launched into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket taking off from the US East Coast.
Manufactured by Airbus with fully electric propulsion, Turksat 5A traveled over four months in space to reach its orbit, where it successfully completed in-orbit tests.
The satellite will provide 1728 Mhz of Ku Band capacity over Turkey, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Midwest Africa, South Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Black Sea region.