Feb. 17, 2014 – 12:25PM | By BURAK EGE BEKDIL
ANKARA — Turkey has launched the Japanese-built Turksat 4A, a communications satellite expected to provide decades of service for government and commercial users.
Turksat 4A, constructed by Mitsubishi Electric, was launched Feb. 14 into a high-altitude orbit near the equator aboard an International Launch Services Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Turkish officials said.
International Launch Services (ILS), the US-based company managing the commercial Proton mission, released a statement declaring the flight a success.
“This is the first ILS Proton launch for our partners, Mitsubishi Electric and Turksat, and we are happy to have such a strong foundation for our new relationship,” said Phil Slack, ILS president, in the statement.
ILS is owned by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the Russian builder of the Proton rocket.
Turksat AS, Turksat 4A’s operator, said the satellite had deployed its two electricity-generating solar panels to a wingspan of nearly 83 feet.
Turksat 4A is outfitted with Ku-band transponders for direct television broadcasts, along with C-band and Ka-band payloads. The craft will reach customers in a swath from England to China.
“With Turksat 4A, Turkey’s satellite broadcasting capacity will be increased vastly,” said Lütfi Elvan, Turkey’s minister of transport, maritime affairs and communications. “Turkey will be connected to many of the African countries to which we could not provide broadcasting services before. For any country in [the] Africa region, it will be easy to receive our TV broadcasts with the Turksat 4A satellite.”
Another Turkish satellite, Turksat 4B, will launch on a Proton rocket later this year.