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Turkey begins prototype development of first indigenous satellite TÜRKSAT-6A
November 19, 2017
Illustration of CTECH's beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications (SATCOM) terminal. Photo source: CTECH

Turkey begins prototype development of first indigenous satellite TÜRKSAT-6A

Turkey has begun the prototype development and production phase of its first indigenously developed communications satellite, the TÜRKSAT-6A.

The announcement was reportedly (via TRT Haber) made during a high-level meeting between the Turkish government and the country’s research and defence industry vendors.

The meeting was presided by the Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Faruk Özlü and Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ahmet Arslan. It was joined by the Turkish Scientific and Technology Research Council (TÜBİTAK), Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aselsan and CTECH.

Turkey formally began the TÜRKSAT-6A program in December 2014. TÜRKSAT-6A is envisaged to carry 20 Ku-band and two X-band transponders. The TÜRKSAT-6A’s qualification tests are scheduled to commence in 2018, with the launch planned for 2020. The TÜRKSAT-6A will be in orbit for 15 years.

Under the scope of the program, currently valued at $170 million U.S., TAI is responsible for designing and manufacturing the TÜRKSAT-6A’s structural properties, harness, thermal control and chemical propulsion subsystems and mechanical ground support equipment. The onboard data-handling software, command and control suite, and assembly, integration and testing will be jointly undertaken with TÜBİTAK.

In December 2016, the European Space Centre had launched the Göktürk-1. Designed and produced by Leonardo and Thales, the Göktürk-1 is serving as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) asset for the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK).

TAI, Roketsan, TÜBİTAK and TR Teknoloji had contributed to the Göktürk-1 in various capacities. As per Leonardo, these included sourcing some of the satellite’s payload structure, telecommand and telemetry ciphering devices and constructing a local assembly, integration and test centre (AITC).

Notes & Comments:

The TÜRKSAT-6A’s military application will be fulfilled by its two X-band transponders, which are to come from Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) under a $30 million CAD contract signed in April 2014. Turkey is already in the process of producing satellite communications (SATCOM) terminals for its hardware, such as the TAI Anka-S unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) (among others). Istanbul-based CTECH Bilişim Teknolojileri A.Ş. is the principal supplier of SATCOM terminals, among them the recently unveiled Airborne Satellite Terminal and Beyond Line-of-Sight (BLOS) Terminal. In addition to the domestic market, CTECH is also marketing its products for export, among them Pakistan.

  • Steve

    SUPARCO needs to be shaken up and investment in manpower and equipment is needed. Turkey could be requested to collaborate, if they agree it may resolve the 30 year stagnation.

    • umar rana

      does SUPARCO have am indset to think outside there offices and see where the world is going

  • Amir Timur

    Meanwhile, SUPARCO still stuck decades behind in the space race. Mismanagement is one sector where Pakistan never fails to deliver. About time someone shakes things up.

  • It is interesting to note how the TÜRKSAT-6A is being developed in collaboration between various Turkish entities. It’s stewarded by a research body (TÜBİTAK) but executed by an aircraft manufacturer, radio terminal vendor and other specialized firms.

    It’s a good approach in that it prohibits unnecessary capacity replication within the lead body (TÜBİTAK) while also scaling the expertise and infrastructure investments already in place in other areas.

    The analogous approach in Pakistan would be to have the Army, Navy, Air Force, SPD, Ministry of Interior, PTCL, etc, each allocate a small portion of funding from their respective budgets and then amalgamate that into a satellite development fund.

    In turn, have SUPARCO lead the conceptual study of developing one based on the means available in Pakistan and to Pakistan (from abroad, e.g. China, Turkey, Europe, etc).

    When a design is ready, sub-contract the work (from the joint fund) out to local and foreign companies (or to foreign companies that will then work with Pakistani counterparts such as PAC, KSEW, NESCOM, etc).

    • Muhammad A Nasir

      What does this actually mean?

      One cannot make anything that one does not want to make. Pakistan does not want to make anything, they actively impede any attempts to make anything locally. There is no institutional desire to be independent: Do you know that PAC does not make anything! They just assemble stuff–their prime motive is to be able to visit any country outside Pakistan, so that they can at least get TA/DA.

      I am against India, probably more than the next guy, but it is only reactive. I am a realist, and I have to say that no matter what low opinion I have of Indians: they do value education. Those of you who are not boiling in a pot (boiling frogs) have you ever stopped to look at the faculties in the US? If not have you bought a new textbook on sciences? Guess who writes them?

      Pakistani pettiness, prohibits education, learning, or any research. Everyone wants to make money through means not available to other citizens–which by definition are exclusionary, corrupt, illegal, or all of these.

      Instead of living in denial we need to ask ourselves, when Indians were learning in the west, did someone other than the Pakistanis stop Pakistanis from learning. Education is available for learning for everyone–when people are punished for engaging this noble act (mandated by Qur’an incidentally) how can people still make tall claims about their strength and virtue?

      Although caste system is an Indian disease, it has Pakistan in a death grip. A self-made person is an oxymoron in this land of the pure! This is why Pakistanis are forced to look for social climbing through marriages: just look at Pakistani searches on the internet for “marriage”. If that is not a shortcut to nobility, I don’t know what is.

      Just like water finds a way to flow, the people who are victims of social engineering find a way to survive–moral or not, just or not. This is why Pakistan, has such a widespread presence of corruption at all levels.

      This ties back to my comment about Pakistanis having natural right to obtain and posses the best, like those proverbial BMWs which were mentioned.

      When the environment jacks up the price to a level which is prohibitive, do the people stop buying them? No! They resort to other means to increase their purchasing power. In the end, they buy whatever they need, by doing what they need–even if it involves buying Turkish garbage.

      Pakistan can try and stop and prevent its people and it institutions from progressing, however progress is a force of nature, and no one can stop it.

      I wonder what possessed someone here to appeal/suggest to Pakistan for acquire COIN planes? Do people not see that the need to counter an insurgency, arises when there is an insurgency. This should be obvious to everyone.

      If we all agree that there is an insurgency, we can quickly agree that there are dissatisfied people who are not happy with their governance. I think it is rather an obvious conclusion.

      Unless we foresee that people will stay unhappy and keep fighting with the government, there should be no need to buy planes to keep bombing them in perpetuity. Would it not be better to spend that money on education, or vocational training. Would it not be better for government to stop resisting people.

      Oh, and who makes these COIN equipment? Any country which has an insurgency going on? No! These things are made by countries which are themselves are at peace. They are learning, living, prospering, by selling us the equipment to the oppressive governments.

      I am all in favor of Pakistan, being at peace and selling or leasing COIN equipment to other countries. However, it worries me that this site not only suggests COIN equipment, they take the perpetual COIN need as necessary.

      We need to start thinking, not selling and generating demand by using cool sounding acronyms. That is an elitist disease, which especially stands out in the case of Pakistan.

      So, no Suparco and PAC are not going to do anything, not because they cannot, but because there are too many kinds without clothes. The shame of being discovered is the force, that motivates the brutal suppression of the people. The few elites will have to be pushed aside so that the ordinary people can avail opportunities that their maker has provided to all on this earth, if they are capable and willing.

    • Faisal Ur Rahman

      The problem with that is SUPARCO does not have any decent scientific capacity any more. It is mostly some GIS or met related work. There are no top scientists and mostly retired army officers running the show. Most of the people are TA/DA and time pass types.

      We need a serious overhaul of SUPARCO with leadership role being given to eminent civilian scientists. Not many scientists would like to work in a too much bureaucratic environment. If fixing SUPARCO has become impossible then grounding it and starting a new institution will be a better approach.

  • SUPPARCO almost lost five decades they were working and had a plan but failed to achieve the planned goal,coz it was not funded by the democratic kings ,only General pervez musharaf gave them strategic plan and asuured them of all support including required funding but after the departure of Musharaf and again taken up by democratic Kings stopped that funding for such critical projects , NESCOM, ATOMIC ENERGY and many more, now its better start collaborating with if possible TURKEY, CHINAand other european vendors by downstreaming work share to PAC , NESCOM ,SUPPARCO ANDMARGALLA ELECTRONICS and all technical univercities by proding them with sufficent.

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