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Musk’s SpaceX to Launch New Turkish Satellites into Space


SpaceX will launch two Turkish satellites into space after Turkey signed a deal with Airbus Defense and Space (Airbus D&S) on Nov. 9 for production of Turkish communications satellites, a Turkish minister said on Thursday.

The satellites, Turksat 5A and Turksat 5B, will be produced by the French Airbus Defense and Space and will be launched by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Turkey’s Maritime, Transportation and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan said in Istanbul.

The deal came a day after SpaceX CEO and Tesla founder Elon Musk met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara to discuss Turkey’s new projects and possible cooperation between SpaceX and local Turkish companies.

Mr. Musk later attended Global SatShow in Istanbul where global companies displayed their latest technology on space, aerospace and satellite products.

New Turkish satellites will be launched by Falcon 9 rocket — a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites, the Turkish minister said according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

“Our friends decided to launch our satellites with the Falcon 9 rockets of Airbus’ subcontractor, SpaceX,” Hurriyet Daily News quoted Minister Arslan as saying.

Representatives of Turksat and Airbus sealed the deal during the event.

Vecdi Gonul, former Turkish defense minister and currently state-run Turksat President, informed the media about the cost of the project and agreement. He said the deal for production and launching of satellites would cost Turkey around $500 million.

The launch of satellites is expected to take place in 2020 and 2021.

The deal also entails joint production as Turkish engineers working for Turksat will also take part in the process in cooperation with Airbus.

The minister said the satellites would play a vital role in the development of Turkey’s telecommunication sector.

Nicolas Chamussy, a senior executive and vice president of Airbus, echoed the Turkish minister and emphasized that the Turkish aerospace industry will significantly benefit from the production.

The second satellite, Turksat 5B, will be built in local facilities in Ankara and Aselsan, a leading Turkish defense company, will take part in the production.

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