SpaceX launches Turkey's first domestically-built communications satellite

SpaceX launches Turkey’s first domestically-built communications satellite

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Monday launched Turkey’s first domestically-built communications satellite, a powerful relay station designed to carry secure military traffic within Turkish borders while providing expanded commercial services across India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We have just launched our domestic communication satellite Türksat 6A into space,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğa said on social media. “We have witnessed another source of pride for our country and our nation. More than 81 percent of the subsystems, satellite ground stations and software in the 6A project, which is of great importance for the future of our country in space, have been produced by Turkey with national resources.”  

Abdulkadir Uraloglu, Turkish minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said Turkey joins an exclusive club of only 11 nations capable of building high-tech communications satellites. In a pre-launch post on social media, he wrote in Turkish, “Türksat 6A will be the symbol of our independence in space and our unity on Earth and in the sky.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket thunders away from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, boosting Turkey’s first domestically produced communications satellite into orbit.

Michael Cain/Spaceflight Now

Liftoff from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station came at 7:30 p.m. EDT, a little more than two hours late because of threatening weather. The first stage, making its 15th flight, propelled the rocket out of the lower atmosphere, then flew itself to a successful landing on a SpaceX barge stationed several hundred miles to the east in the Atlantic Ocean.