SpaceX Launches Turkey's Türksat 6A Satellite

SpaceX Launches Turkey's Türksat 6A Satellite
SpaceX Launches Turkey's Türksat 6A Satellite

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched Turkey's first domestically-built communications satellite, a powerful relay station designed to carry secure military traffic within Turkish borders while providing expanded commercial services across India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

"We have just launched our domestic communication satellite Türksat 6A into space," Turkish President Erdoğan said on social media.

Liftoff from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station came, a little more than two hours late because of threatening weather. The first stage, making its 15th flight, propelled the rocket out of the lower atmosphere, then flew itself to a successful landing on a SpaceX barge stationed several hundred miles to the east in the Atlantic Ocean.

The second stage completed two firings of its single engine, releasing the Türksat 6A satellite into a highly elliptical "transfer" orbit 35 minutes after liftoff.

The satellite's onboard thrusters will be used in the coming days to circularize the orbit 22,300 miles above the equator at 42 degrees east longitude. At that altitude, satellites take 24 hours to complete one orbit and appear stationary in the sky, allowing the use of fixed ground antennas on the ground.

Türksat 6A, operated by Türksat A.Ș., is equipped with 16 Ku-band transponders, along with four held in reserve. It also is equipped with two active X-band transponders and one spare. Those three are reserved for domestic Turkish military use while the Ku-band transponders will support commercial services.

Turksat 6A will increase satellite coverage, as it will cover India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, increasing our coverage of approximately 3.5 billion people to around five billion.

The satellite has a design life of 15 years.

As for SpaceX, the launch marked the company's 68th Falcon 9 launch so far this year and its 353rd overall.