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SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket with first satellite built entirely in Turkey

By Allen Cone
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Turksat 6 communications satellite for Turkey from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
1 of 2 | A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Turksat 6 communications satellite for Turkey from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- After a two-hour weather delay, SpaceX launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Monday night a Falcon 9 rocket carrying aloft Turkey's first home-grown communications satellite.

The rockets lifted off at 7:30 p.m., the 50th by the private company this year from Florida.

Eight minutes later, the booster landed on the SpaceX droneship Just Read the Instruction in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Turksat 6A satellite was later released to its temporary orbit about 70 minutes after liftoff.

"All systems are looking good for today's launch of the @Turksat 6A mission from Florida. Weather conditions have improved for liftoff, and propellant load is underway," SpaceX posted on X about the showers.

It also was hot there. At 3:55 p.m., the heat index was 108 degrees at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the National Weather Service reported.

The four-hour launch window started at 5:21 p.m.

Turkey has had satellites launched before but this is the first one to be entirely built in the Middle East nation. Turkey is just the 11th country capable of manufacturing its own communications satellites.

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In December 2021, SpaceX launched the Turksat 5B communications satellite to geostationary orbit 22,236 miles above Earth. It joined Turksat 5A, which flew in January 2021 during the Cape's first rocket launch of that year.

The Falcon 9 first stage launched for a 15th time.

It was part of SpaceX's 26th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station on Nov. 9. It has also sent into orbit the 16th batch of OneWeb satellites and eight Starlink flights.

"Our local and national communication satellite, which will have a power of 7.5 kilowatts, will have 20 transponders," Abdulkadir Uraloglu, Turkey's Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, said in a September 2023 news release. "Our TURKSAT 6A satellite will serve in Ku Band and will also provide service in new geography such as South-East Asia, which could not be covered by previous Turksat satellites."

The satellite will provide data relay for civil and military communications to the Anatolian peninsula as well as most of the European continent, the Middle East and the westernmost part of the Russian federation, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex reported.

The 9,400-pound satellite is designed to have a 15-year lifespan and will increase the reach of Turkey's satellites "from 3.5 billion to 5 billion" people, Uraloglu said.

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