Countdown begins for Turksat 6A launch


Lerato Khumalo

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloğlu made assessments regarding the current status of Turkey’s first domestic and national communication satellite Türksat 6A, which was sent to Space X’s Cape Canaveral Space Center in Florida, USA, on June 4, at a press conference held at Türksat.

Underlining that they share the pride of crowning Turkey’s satellite broadcasting adventure, which started with Türksat 1B in 1994, with the first domestic and national communication satellite, Türksat 6A, Uraloğlu said that the country has made significant progress in satellite and space technologies in recent years.

Uraloğlu pointed out that they put the communication satellites Türksat 1B into service in 1994, Türksat 1C in 1996, and Türksat 2A in 2001 and that these satellites have completed their lifespans, and said, “We sent the active Türksat 3A into space in 2008, Türksat 4A in 2014, and Türksat 4B in 2015. We put Türksat 5A into service in 2021 and finally Türksat 5B in 2022. Türksat 6A was produced by Turkish engineers at the Space Systems Integration and Test Center (USET) in TUSAŞ. This is of particular importance for our country.”

Explaining that the story of Türksat 6A began with the technology transfer program during the construction of Türksat 3A, Uraloğlu said that with the program initiated by Türksat, Türksat engineers were also included in the construction of 4A and 4B, in addition to 3A.

Uraloğlu also made evaluations regarding the production process of Türksat 6A and noted the following:

“In 2015, we started work at USET, which we established in TUSAŞ facilities in cooperation with Türksat and the Presidency of Defense Industries. We conducted a detailed ‘critical review phase’ on December 26, 2016. We completed the Thermal Structural Adequacy Model at the end of 2018 and moved on to the second critical review phase. We completed this phase in November 2018 and started the construction of the Engineering Model at the beginning of 2019. After completing the Engineering Model in 2022, we conducted the Initial Functional Tests of the Flight Model in June 2022. We completed the Thermal Vacuum Tests of the Flight Model that we will send to space in December 2022. Again, we completed the Vibration and Acoustic Tests of the Flight Model in August 2023. Shock Tests in November 2023, Final Functional Tests in January 2024. We have completed all of our functional tests by completing the SI-EY-TI-AR (CATR) Tests in March 2024 and the Mass Properties Measurement in April 2024. After Turksat 6A passed all of the tests successfully, we sent it to Space X facilities.


Uraloğlu stated that the launch procedures, which started after a successful transfer process and lasted approximately 1 month, have come to an end and made the following statements:

“We have started the countdown to send our Türksat 6A satellite into space with the Falcon 9 rocket from the launch center on July 8, 2024 at 17:20 US local time, at 00:20 on the night of July 8-9 Turkey time. If we take the lift-off moment of the satellite as a reference, the first separation of the fuel tank will occur at the 195th second from this moment. Exactly 35 minutes and 55 seconds later, the Türksat 6A satellite will separate from the second stage of the rocket. We aim to reach its temporary orbit and receive the first signal approximately 70 minutes after the separation of the satellite from the rocket. Receiving the signal after the separation moment of the satellite will show that the launch and separation were successful without any problems. After the launch, our satellite, which will set off with the chemical propulsion system, will reach its permanent orbit at 42 degrees east longitude, 35 thousand 786 kilometers away and we plan to start orbital tests. After reaching the satellite, we aim to take delivery of our Turksat 6A satellite in orbit and put it into operation after approximately 1 month of tests.”

Uraloğlu emphasized that when Türksat 6A becomes operational, it will both provide redundancy for existing satellites and increase capacity, and that the satellite will be a major milestone in Turkey’s satellite ecosystem as a geostationary communication satellite.

Underlining that the satellite will provide services in the field of data communication, especially TV broadcasting, Uraloğlu said that it will be able to meet the satellite communication needs of the country in a wide coverage area.

Uraloğlu stated that India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, which are not served by the current satellites, will also be included in the coverage area and made the following assessment:

“Thus, for the first time, we will be able to reach local television channels in these countries via a satellite we produce. With Türksat 6A, the population reached by Turkey’s satellites will increase from 3.5 billion to 5 billion. There are also frequency bands where we will back up our satellites with which we broadcast television in Ku-Band, which is important in terms of uninterrupted television broadcasting. In this sense, the services we provide with 6A, which is important in terms of redundancy, will also increase with additional capacity. With the entry into service of Türksat 6A, we also plan to significantly increase Türksat’s satellite service exports to the region.”

“Control of UAVs operating abroad will become safer with Turksat satellites”
Uraloğlu, who stated that they can keep the country’s UAVs under control all around the world with all Türksat satellites, especially the Türksat 5B, which is currently in service, said, “In other words, it is no longer possible for external interventions to control our UAVs, and this satellite communication is emerging as an element that changes the rules of the game, especially in UAV operations. The control of UAVs operating abroad will become more secure with Türksat satellites. Satellite communication will minimize the risk of unauthorized access or intervention by providing secure and encrypted channels for data transmission. Similarly, Türksat 6A will now enable this opportunity to spread to a very wide area.”

Uraloğlu pointed out that they have secured the orbital rights in the space homeland and emphasized that they will pursue the rights not only at sea and on land but also in space to the end.

Stating that the country has become a communications satellite production center for countries in its region with the experience it gained from Türksat 6A, Uraloğlu explained that with the production of the satellite, the country has taken its place among the countries producing communications satellites and has become a satellite exporter.

Uraloğlu connected to Fatih Ayhan, Space X’s Türksat Satellite Programs Director at the Cape Canaveral Space Center in Florida, USA, and received information about the launch process.

Ayhan said that Turksat 6A is the first satellite to be launched from the space base in question.