Turkey launches first homegrown communication satellite into orbit

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Turkey launched its first domestically-produced communications satellite, Turksat 6A, into orbit early on Tuesday, in a move Ankara said would widen the country’s satellite coverage and meet its television broadcasting needs.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried the satellite into space from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, United States.

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the launch marked the opening of a “new phase” for Turkey in satellite production.

“As Turkey, we produced more than 81 percent of the subsystems, satellite ground stations and software in the 6A project, which is of great importance for our country’s future in space, with national resources,” he said.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloglu said the first signal from Turksat 6A was received 67 minutes after its launched, as planned, adding the satellite would widen Turkey’s coverage to 5 billion people.

“We will have brought our own communications, our television broadcasts to a safer, better level,” he said, adding Turksat 6A would now allow Turkey to also reach India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Turkey had previously launched satellites using rockets from SpaceX as well. Uraloglu said Turksat 6A was the result of a 10-year effort to domestically produce a satellite, adding it meant Turkey became one of 11 countries to have done so.

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