PARIS — Turkey’s first medium-resolution optical Earth observation satellite, the domestically built Gokturk-2, has completed a year in orbit with successful operations that have no geographical restrictions on image gathering for military and civil applications, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) said.
Gokturk-2, built by TAI and Tubitak Space Corp. of Turkey and launched in December 2012 aboard a Chinese Long March rocket, operates in a near-polar 700-kilometer orbit and is capable of taking images with a 2.5-meter ground resolution in black and white and 5 meters in color.
Built to operate for five years, the satellite is able to re-image a given area every 2.5 days and has 8 gigabytes of on-board data storage capacity.
The Turkish government has identified autonomy in satellite building as a national priority. The higher-resolution Gokturk-1 satellite, under construction by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, is scheduled for launch in 2015.
Gokturk-1 uses a non-Turkish platform, based on the Proteus bus developed by Thales Alenia Space for the French space agency, CNES, and a French optical payload with sub-metric imaging capability based on France’s Pleiades civil-military spacecraft. But the construction contract includes development of a satellite manufacturing capacity in Turkey.
In a Jan. 13 statement, TAI said Gokturk-2 has completed 5,344 orbits of the Earth “without limitation.” The company has said Gokturk-1 similarly will function “without geographical constraints over the world from any area of military intelligence with high-resolution images.”
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