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Thales to provide transponder for Turkey’s first lunar mission

Thales will provide an S-Band TT&C Transponder for the AYAP-1 spacecraft, a key unit to establish a communication link between the spacecraft and the ground station.
Photo credit: Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with TÜBİTAK Space Technologies Research Institute (TÜBİTAK UZAY) to provide a Communication Transponder for AYAP-1, marking Turkey’s first lunar mission. The Lunar Research Programme (AYAP), a crucial facet of the National Space Programme led by the Turkish Space Agency, entrusts TÜBİTAK UZAY with the comprehensive responsibilities of designing, developing, integrating, testing, launching, and operating the AYAP-1 spacecraft.

This project positions Turkey to successfully execute its first lunar mission, propelling the nation into a select group of countries capable of autonomous lunar activities. Thales Alenia Space’s contribution involves delivering an S-Band TT&C (Tracking, Telemetry and Command) Transponder for the AYAP-1 spacecraft—an essential component establishing communication between the spacecraft and the ground station.

Stéphane Terranova, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Spain, said: “At Thales Alenia Space we are honoured by the confidence of TÜBİTAK UZAY to provide the Communication Transponder for AYAP-1 spacecraft, a key element for the success of Turkey’s first mission to the Moon. We’re excited to contribute in the renewed ambition of humanity to explore the Earth’s natural satellite.”

Thales Alenia Space’s site in Madrid, Spain, renowned as a centre of excellence in space communications, boasts 35 years of experience in designing and producing satellite communication systems for a diverse range of space missions. The Madrid teams are actively engaged in nine lunar missions, providing lunar communications systems and equipment across various frequency bands for orbiters, landers, rovers, and the Lunar Gateway space station.

Notable among these missions are KARI’s Danuri orbiter, NASA’s VIPER rover exploring the South Pole for water ice, the ESPRIT module of the Lunar Gateway, and lunar landers NOVA-C and Griffin under NASA’s CLPS program. Thales Alenia Space continues to play a pivotal role in advancing lunar exploration initiatives globally.