Turkey aims to send first rocket to moon in 2023, Erdoğan says

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has unveiled Turkey’s 10-year national space program that includes sending its first rocket to the moon as early as 2023 among its 10 strategic goals, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

“The first rough landing will be made on the moon with our national hybrid rocket that will be launched into orbit at the end of 2023 with international cooperation,” the president said during an event in Ankara. “God willing, we are going to the moon,” he added.

The plan coincides with the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

The president, who spoke to Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk last month on possible cooperation in space technologies with Turkish companies, didn’t elaborate further on the international cooperation that is expected to help achieve Turkey’s 2023 space goals or the program’s budget.

According to Erdoğan’s statements, Turkey aims to reach strategic space goals, which include sending a Turkish citizen to a scientific mission in space and creating a “global brand” in satellite technology, within the next 10 years.

“I hope this roadmap, which will carry Turkey to the top league in the global space race, will come to life successfully,” Erdoğan said, emphasizing that the country would improve work on satellite technologies and establish a space port with other ally countries.

Turkey launched its Turksat 5A satellite into orbit from the United States in cooperation with SpaceX last month. The Turksat 5B satellite is planned to be launched in the second quarter of 2021.

The country had previously launched reconnaissance and communications satellites, set up a satellite systems integration and test center, and manufactured a domestic HD satellite called IMECE which is expected to be launched in 2022.

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