Ankara, Turkey – Turkish Air Force, country’s top scientific and technological research organization, dubbed TUBITAK and a number of industry participants are collaborating for the development of an integrated command and control center exclusively for Turkey’s upcoming space projects, officials familiar with the program told TR Defence. The new center’s exact location has not yet been disclosed but Ankara, the nation’s capital, is on top of a very short list of candidates.
It will eventually host over 180 personnel around the clock, oversee all of Turkey’s orbital operations and will also act as a mission control center as part of Turkey’s ambitious satellite launcher project spearheaded by missile manufacturer Roketsan. It will operate in conjunction with an existing, smaller operations center. “The center will be capable of tracking all space objects of Turkish origin, but only be managing government-sponsored satellites and missions,” a TUBITAK press correspondent said.“We’re consulting with ESA, NASA, CNSA and other international industry partners to build an efficient space infrastructure and make our systems interoperable with theirs as part of Turkey’s wider space strategy,” official added.
Turkey currently operates a number of telecommunications and Earth observation satellites and is hoping to produce its next generation of satellites in Turkey with maximum local contribution.
A high-resolution spy satellite that stirred some heat with Israel last year over Israeli and Western worries that sensitive images might end up in the hands of Islamist terrorists, named Gokturk-1, is scheduled to be launched this year, followed up by an indigenously built SAR satellite planned for orbit in 2018.Turkey hopes to begin sending its own satellites to space by 2023, its 100th anniversary as a modern republic.