Turkey announces space program including 2023 moon mission

An ambitious 10-year space program of Turkey includes missions to the moon, developing internationally viable satellite systems, and sending Turkish astronauts into space.

Turkish space program
Turkish space program

The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 9, 2021, unveiled an ambitious 10-year space program that includes missions to the moon, developing internationally viable satellite systems, and sending Turkish astronauts into space.

The program announced by the President, during a live televised event laced with special effects, can be seen as part of his vision for placing Turkey in the expanded global and regional role.

The Turkish Space Agency by the country in 2018 with an aim of joining the handful of the countries with space programs.

The President, during the launch, also declared Turkey’s aim of sending Turkish citizens into space with international cooperation, to work with other nations on creating a global brand in satellite technology and on building a spaceport.

Turkey’s first contact with the moon:

President Erdogan informed that Turkey plans on establishing its first contact with the moon in 2023 when the nation will mark the centennial of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

The first stage of this ambitious mission will be through international cooperation while the second stage will utilize Turkish rockets.

The Turkish leader added that the country’s primary and most important goal for its national program is the contact of the Republic, in its 100th year, with the moon.

The President further mentioned that he hopes that this roadmap, which will carry Turkey to the top league in the global space race, will come to life successfully.

Critics questions government’s investment:

The critics have questioned the Turkish government’s decision of spending vast sums of money on this goal at a time when the country’s economy is suffering.

But the supporters, on the other hand, claim that a space program will provide jobs for the researchers and is most likely to reduce the brain drain of emigrating scientists.

The President did not provide any form of details on how the country plans on achieving its goals. However, in January 2021, Erdogan and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had spoken on a telephone and had discussed cooperation on space technologies with Turkish Companies.

Publicity gimmick before the event:

A metal monolith that had appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared on a field in southeast Turkey had turned out to be a publicity stunt before the event.

The 3-meter high metal slab with the inscription ‘Look at the sky, you will see the moon’, written in an ancient Turkic script was found on February 5 by a farmer in Sanliurfa province.

The structure was then reported gone on the morning of February 9. An image of the same monolith was later projected on the screen during the launch as the President unveiled the 10-year space program.

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