Moon Mission: Turkey Unveils National Space Program

Turkey unveiled its national space program, a roadmap based on realistic and competitive goals, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on last Tuesday.

“The national space program will carry our country to an upper league in the global space race,” Erdogan stressed during the introductory meeting in the capital Ankara.

Noting that the program was prepared and will be carried out by the Turkish Space Agency (TUA), Erdogan said Turkey is opening the door to the sky journey of its civilization that pioneered justice, morality, and peace in the world for centuries.

The program outlines Turkey’s 10-year vision, strategies, objectives, and projects on space policies, he noted.

“The primary and most important mission of the program is to make the first contact with the Moon in our republic’s centennial year [2023],” Erdogan said.

Noting that the goal will be completed in two stages, Erdogan said that at the first stage, a rough landing would be made on the Moon with a national and authentic hybrid rocket that will be launched into orbit at the end of 2023 through international cooperation.

Turkish Moon Ambition

“When completing this task, we will be one of the countries that have managed to reach the Moon, and we will gather necessary information for the second stage of the mission,” he said.

At the second stage in 2028, the initial launching, which carried our probe to orbit, will be made through Turkey’s own rockets, Erdogan noted, adding: “As we make a soft landing on the Moon, we will be one of the few countries that could conduct scientific activities on it.”

The Moon Program will leverage Turkey’s breakthroughs in launch, rocket, and control technologies, he underlined.

Noting that the program’s second goal is to create a trademark on the new-generation satellite development, he said the country would gather satellite production activities under a single authority coordinated by the TUA.

“We plan to gain a higher share from the world satellite market by enhancing our competitiveness thanks to this move,” he explained.  
Under its national space program, Turkey aims to set up a regional positioning and timing system, Erdogan noted.

With this regional positioning system, to be created with an innovative method through using satellites along with ground systems, Turkey will end its foreign dependency, he stressed. 

“This will pave the way to develop our own precise navigation applications in defense, agriculture, urbanization, and autonomous vehicles,” the president said. 

Turkey is planning to establish a spaceport while ensuring access to space, he stressed.

“We should make our national and domestic rockets to carry heavy payloads to the Earth’s orbit,” he underlined.

Noting that Turkey’s geographical location is not convenient for establishing the spaceport, Erdogan said Turkey would cooperate with allied countries in the most suitable areas.

Another goal of the program is to increase its competitiveness in space by investing in space weather, meteorology, Erdogan said.

Turkey will boost its efficiency in astronomical observations and follow-up of space objects from the Earth, he noted.

“Thus, we will contribute to recording and tracking of objects in the Earth’s orbit,” he said.
Under the program, Turkey will further develop the economy of its space industry, Erdogan stressed.

“We will carry the success we have achieved in the defense industry to the space area and ensure the formation of a strong and productive ecosystem,” he noted.

A Space Technology Development Region to welcome domestic and foreign investors will be established, the president also said.
Noting that the country will develop effective and competent human resources in the field of space, Erdogan said the “final goal is to send a Turkish citizen to space with a scientific mission.”

Set out in the first 100-day action plan unveiled after the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s victory in elections in June, TUA was established in December 2018 with a presidential decree.

Touching on the government’s works in the field of space, Erdogan said 2.1 billion Turkish liras (nearly $300 million) had been provided for 56 projects about satellite, space, launching systems, and space equipment in the last 18 years.

As the country develops new technologies such as observation satellites, Turkey will ensure full security of information obtained from satellites through Turkish engineers’ software, Erdogan added.

“We have developed and produced several critical subsystems such as high-resolution space camera, new generation flight computer and software, electric thruster engine, steerable antenna, reaction wheel, star camera, and sun sensor,” he also noted. 

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