Gokturk-2 Turkey’s Signature In Space

Turkey Has Successfully Launched Its First Reconnaissance Satellite, Göktürk-2. We Interviewed Prof. Dr. Yücel Altunbaşak, Chairman Of The Scientific And Technological Research Council Of Turkey (TÜBITAK), About The Project.

How did the national satellite project come about?
The idea for the Göktürk-2 satellite came up in meetings held at TÜBİTAK in parallel with the increased funding allocated to research and development by the Supreme Council for Science and Technology. TÜBİTAK and the Turkish military then collaborated to prepare the project definition documents. Following Ministry of Defense-led efforts to conclude the contract, the project was officially launched on May 1, 2007, and was carried out by a partnership between the TÜBİTAK Space Technologies Research Institute and Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TUSAŞ), in which TÜBİTAK UZAY is the leading partner.

What sort of technology and skills are needed to produce a satellite of this kind?
A typical earth observation satellite consists of electrical power generation and distribution systems, an altitude/orbit determination and control system, flight computers, data storage systems, communications systems, thermal control systems and structural systems. On the Göktürk-2 satellite, all these systems were designed by Turkish engineers. In terms of the infrastructure, there is also a need for thermal vacuum chambers, vibration and acoustic test facilities, anechoic electromagnetic test chambers and other testing facilities.

What are the benefits and importance of having such a satellite?
First of all, if a country has such a satellite, especially an indigenously developed one, this demonstrates its ability to undertake even more challenging projects. At the same time, thanks to the Göktürk-2 satellite, we are now able to take satellite images wherever we want without restrictions. This has enormous advantages, especially for military purposes, as well as important implications in terms of international relations. In other words, if we were to use military and strategic terminology, this satellite is a major “force multiplier” for Turkey.

How was the Göktürk-2 produced?
Göktürk-2 was produced by a very young, competent and dynamic team. The progress of the project was monitored step by step in dozens of large meetings, hundreds of tests and thousands of project documents over a period of around 5 years. Currently, we could say that this project is one of the most rigorous projects ever undertaken in Turkey.

What will be the benefits of this satellite?
The Göktürk-2 satellite is going to answer some of Turkey’s pressing needs in areas like reconnaissance and remote sensing, environment and city planning, natural disasters, agriculture and forestry, and cartography.

Weight: 400 kg
Single frame imaging area: 20 km x 20 km
5-meter image resolution in the red, green, blue and near infrared bands
2.5-meter image resolution in the panchromatic (grey scale) band
640-km line imaging on the north-south axis
Horizon-to-horizon communication time:  10 min
Daily average communication time:  40 min
Average interval between re-imaging of same spot: 2 ½ days

What is Turkey’s strategy regarding the technology and infrastructure for launching a satellite into space?
The recent launches of our Göktürk-2 and RASAT (remote-sensing) satellites from abroad has created significant awareness of the subject. Both TÜBİTAK and other government agencies are currently engaged in efforts to develop launching technology and a launch center in Turkey.

What are Turkey’s future plans in the area of Space Science?
TÜBİTAK is going to provide the knowledge acquired in the area of space technologies to researchers working in the space sciences. Our goal is that Turkey reaches the level it deserves in both the space sciences and space technologies.

“If a country has such a satellite, especially an indigenously developed one, this demonstrates its ability to undertake even more challenging projects.”