Turkey, Turkish space program

Erdoğan: Turkey to reach the Moon in 2023 and to send astronaut into space

Erdoğan announced the creation of the Turkish Space Agency, and also the Turkish space program for the next 10 years, with a mission to the Moon.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan announced yesterday the creation of the Turkish Space Agency (Türk Uzay Ajansı, or TUA) and Turkey’s plans for the next few years, which include reaching the Moon in 2023 and sending an astronaut into space.

During the presentation in Ankara of Turkey’s space program and the TUA inauguration ceremony, Erdoğan explained Turkey’s goals in space in the coming years: “Our first goal is to land on the Moon in 2023, on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. I know that Turkish engineers will succeed in carrying out this mission, despite the risks involved,” he said.

“The national space program will take our country to a higher league in the global space race,” underlined the Turkish president in his speech, noting that the program comprises an initial plan with strategies, objectives and projects in space during the next 10 years. “The main and most important mission of the program is to make the first contact with the Moon for the centenary of our Republic (in 2023),” Erdoğan reiterated.

A plan to land on the Moon that will consist of two phases

Detailing Turkey’s plans to reach the Moon, the Turkish president explained that the project will consist of two phases; during the first one, a rough landing will be carried out on the lunar surface by a hybrid rocket manufactured in Turkey that will be launched at the end of 2023 into space through an international cooperation project.

“When we have completed this task, we will be one of the few countries that has made it to the moon, and we will collect the data necessary for the second phase of the mission,” Erdoğan continued. This 2nd phase would take place in 2028, and in it a Turkish space rocket will launch an orbital probe and a soft landing will be made on the Moon, “making us one of the few countries that carries out scientific activities there.”

Erdoğan also announced that Turkey wants to build a spaceport from which to launch “our self-made rockets into Earth orbit carrying heavy payloads.” However, given that Turkey is not well placed due to its geographical location to launch missions to Earth’s low orbit, the space launch center will have to be built in another country with which Turkey will reach a cooperation agreement.

Turkey to export its own satellite technology

“The second objective is to create a global brand (in space technology) that competes in the field of development of next generation satellites,” said the Turkish president. In fact, the space program will force research into new technologies for radiation resistance, communications, autonomy and artificial intelligence, added Erdoğan, who also announced that Turkey wants to send a Turkish astronaut into space.

Another objective of the Turkish space program will be to improve its satellite technology to compete in the international market, as well as to develop its own satellite navigation system that makes the country not dependent on foreign technology. “This will allow us to develop our own navigation applications for defence, agriculture, urban planning and autonomous vehicles,” said Erdoğan.

The mystery of the monolith unveiled

The Turkish president’s announcement has also served to unravel the mystery surrounding the monolith that appeared a few days ago near Göbeklitepe, and which has turned out to be a promotional campaign for Turkey’s space program.

“I announce here the Turkish National Space Program with its 10-year vision for space,” Erdoğan began his speech yesterday with a background image of the mysterious monolith. “Look at the sky, and you will see the moon,” said the Turkish president, citing the words written on the monolith, before announcing that Turkey will reach the Moon in 2023 and send an astronaut into space.