KIHEI, Hawaii — Turksat will launch its first domestically built communications satellite on a SpaceX Falcon 9, the Turkish government announced Sept. 17.
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said it awarded SpaceX a contract for the launch of Turksat 6A, scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. The ministry did not disclose the terms of the contract.
In a government statement, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu said the government considered “many launcher companies” before selecting SpaceX, “which offers the best solution in terms of both technical, administrative and financial aspects.”
Turksat 6A will be the country’s first communications satellite built domestically, by the TÜBİTAK Space Technologies Research Institute. The spacecraft will operate from 42 degrees east with a payload of Ku- and X-band transponders.
In the statement, Karaismailoğlu said assembly of the satellite is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, with the satellite finishing environmental testing by the end of 2022.
Turksat 6A will be the third Turksat satellite launched by SpaceX. A Falcon 9 launched Turksat 5A in January and Turksat 5B is scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2021. Both Turksat 5A and 5B were built by Airbus Defence and Space.
The contract is the second in as many weeks that SpaceX has won from a regional GEO satellite operator. Yahsat selected SpaceX Sept. 8 to launch its Thuraya 4-NGS satellite on a Falcon 9 in the second half of 2023.