SpaceX successfully launched the Turksat 5B Turkish communications satellite in less than 16 hours after launching a batch of Starlink broadband spacecraft.
The company’s Falcon 9 rocket took to the skies at 10:58 PM EST December 18 (03:58 UTC Dec. 19), 2021, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Turksat 5B was deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit where it will use its own onboard propulsion to circularise its orbit into a geostationary orbit positioned at 42 degrees east longitude.
Operated by the Turksat communications company, which is owned by the Turkish government, is expected to provide TV broadcasting services and telecommunications to Europe, Turkey, the Middle East and geographical sections of Asia and Africa.
This mission is a follow up to Turksat 5A, which was launched earlier in 2021.
The Turksat 5B satellite was launched to geostationary transfer orbit, where it will use onboard electric thrusters to reach 42 degrees East to provide high throughput Ka- and Ku-band services over Turkey, the Middle East and parts of Africa.
The 9,900-pound (4,500-kilogram) Turksat 5B spacecraft is Turkey’s most-powerful satellite to date with a design life of about 15 years. However, it has a next-generation electric-powered impulse system that could allow it to operate for 35 years, providing data transmission of more than 55 gigabits per second with Ka-band, Ku-band and X-band transponders.
All communication equipment for Turksat 5B was produced in Turkey before being transported to France for satellite integration and then on to the United States for launch.
The telecommunication satellite and high data capabilities are expected to establish internet communication in places not accessed by terrestrial infrastructure, according to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Adil Karaismailoglu.
Turkey’s first domestically built communications satellite Turksat 6A, currently in production, is expected to launch sometime in 2023 as integration, assembly and testing of the satellite at Ankara Space Space Systems and Integration Test Center are ongoing.