1st Turkish-made satellite launched into space

Türkiye’s first domestically designed and manufactured satellite IMECE was launched into orbit from California, the United States, the state-run Anadolu agency reported.

After multiple delays over the past few weeks due to adverse weather conditions, the satellite was successfully launched at 11:48 p.m., Friday local time (0648 GMT on Saturday) by Space X with a Falcon 9 rocket, the agency said.

The 700-kg high-resolution earth observation satellite was made by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TUBITAK), the country’s official scientific body. A team of 200 people worked for five years on the satellite.

“From design to integration to the equipment loadout, it was made by our scientists, engineers, and technicians,” Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank told reporters Friday. “From the electro-optical camera to the solar panels and even the software, it’s 90 percent domestically made,” he added.

According to Anadolu, IMECE will reduce Türkiye’s dependence on foreign sources for satellite technologies. It will serve the country in many areas, such as “target detection and diagnosis, natural disasters, mapping, and agricultural applications.”

The satellite will orbit the planet at an altitude of 680 km, from where it will be able to take high-resolution images covering an area of 16 square kilometers.

“The message we want to give the world is this,” said Varank, “we are able to develop technologies that work in space. If there is a satellite market, then we are ready to enter it.” ■

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