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05 June 2024, 10:18

Türkiye’s research agency Tubitak paves way to space

ANKARA, 5 June (BelTA - Anadolu) - Türkiye’s national research agency Tubitak is paving the way to space, said the director of the Tubitak Space Technologies Research Institute (Tubitak Uzay).

Tubitak Uzay serves as a development center of Türkiye’s space ecosystem working towards advancing space efforts, Mehmet Nefes told Anadolu.

“We will see that our technologies we have worked on one day will carry us to the moon,” he noted.

Nefes said they are continuing research and development in accordance with the National Space Program after having successfully sent Türkiye’s first space traveler, Alper Gezeravci, to the International Space Station (ISS).

He noted that Tubitak Uzay will also coordinate the “suborbital research flight” of the country’s second space traveler, Tuva Cihangir Atasever, on June 8.

- ‘Tubitak Uzay is sort of an incubation center for Türkiye’s space ecosystem to develop’

Nefes highlighted that Tubitak Uzay competes in the field of satellites, as they first started with Bilsat, continuing with Rasat, Gokturk-2 and Imece, each and every project they undertake contributing to their technological capacity.

“The Imece satellite is currently operating successfully, as we are monitoring the process of acceptance tests in orbit from our ground station, since we will soon deliver it to the Turkish Air Force,” he said.

“We are the main contractor of Turksat 6A, and together with Turkish Aerospace Industries, Aselsan and Ctech, we undertook Türkiye’s largest R&D project, as we will send Turksat 6A to the US on June 4, besides planning to launch the satellite during the week of July 8-13,” he added.

Nefes said that commanding a satellite to capture images of any place on Earth is important, and Türkiye’s commercial and military needs in the space field with national projects will contribute to the country’s current account deficit.

He noted that Tubitak Uzay’s main goal is to meet Türkiye’s space technologies needs while protecting and developing the related know-how and human resources.

“We support projects of local firms as we work very closely with them, providing training and consultancy, making our infrastructure available to them, as Tubitak Uzay is sort of an incubation center for Türkiye’s space ecosystem to develop.”

- ‘Tubitak Uzay is the go-to place for Türkiye’s space field’

Nefes said they aim to make first contact on the moon by 2026 with a project of producing a capable spacecraft with their own teams.

“The computer architecture of the mission computer to be used on the lunar rover is similar to the ones we used in Turksat 6A and Imece, only altered to meet the needs of this project,” he said.

“We plan, design, manufacture and even operate our own satellites for a while before handing them over, as we try to meet the needs of our country, and given the necessary support, we have the potential to meet every space-related need, becoming the go-to place for Türkiye in the space field,” he added.

- ‘Unity of power needed for sustainable activities in space’

Nefes emphasized sustainability in space efforts, as one-off successes and projects are no longer viable, and that there needs to be planned projects in line with a road map.

“The support from the Ministry of Industry and Technology and the Tubitak Presidency are crucial, as both establishments provide serious support, for instance, for the satellites we have already launched into space. Similarly, they support our ongoing projects, and we work together with the private sector. To have sustainable activities in space, we need a unity of power, such as utilizing indigenous technologies and products.”

Nefes noted that the surge of interest in space has been positive, as the number of young people interested in space projects has seen an uptick.

“We encourage young engineers in our projects and support satellite projects from the private sector and universities, such as through consultancy, training and testing in our facilities,” he said. 
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