Turkey launched its Turksat 5A satellite, from a SpaceX base in US, as it aims to provide TV broadcasting and communication services across three continents.
Turkey has dispatched a broadcasting and communication satellite, US advanced rockets and spacecraft manufacturer company SpaceX announced on early Friday.
"With Turksat 5A's coming into service, we will add the Middle East and Africa Continents to our coverage area in addition to the East and West," Turkey's Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said.
Following the Turksat 5A satellite, the country will also launch another communication satellite, the Turksat 5B, in June, the minister added.
Satellite to secure Turkey's orbital rights
Turkey signed an agreement with Airbus in 2017 for the production of the Turksat 5A and 5B orbiters. The country is also working on the Turksat 6A, which will be produced indigenously.
With a 30-year lifetime, Turkey's fifth-generation satellite, the Turksat 5A, will have the country's orbital rights secured, an executive at Airbus told Anadolu Agency.
"Turksat 5A will secure the orbital rights of Turkey," Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems within Airbus said.
Citing a production contract for the Turksat 5A between Turksat and Airbus Defense and Space, Nasr said efforts to produce the satellite had started immediately after the deal was signed on November 9, 2017.
The satellite launched at 0215 GMT by the US-based technology company SpaceX with a Falcon 9 rocket from the company's Cape Canaveral base in Florida, according to the private rocket company's website.
Around 30 minutes later SpaceX confirmed the satellite's deployment.
"[We have] received the first signal from Turksat 5A satellite," the minister Karaismailoglu said.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk visited Turkey in November 2017 which opened a door for cooperation on using the company's rocket launchers.
The liftoff had been planned for June 5, but was postponed.
"Built by Airbus Defense and Space with significant Turkish contributions, the Turkish 5A satellite will provide Ku-band television broadcast services over Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and Africa," SpaceX's website said.
The satellite will carry 42 transponders and will be located at a somewhat unused Turkish orbital slot at 31 degrees East.
Karaismailoglu said previously that Turkey's new communication satellites, including Turksat 5A, 5B and 6A, will make the country more powerful in space.
The UK announced last year that the government supports an Airbus contract worth $500 million to manufacture and deliver two satellites for Turkish communications company Turksat.
UK Export Finance was providing a guarantee to support a loan of $325 million to the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance to enable the purchase.