|Mission type||Earth observation|
|Operator||Turkish Ministry of National Defence|
Thales Alenia Space
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ)
Göktürk-1 is a high resolution earth observation satellite designed and developed for the Turkish Ministry of National Defence by the Italian space service company Telespazio in cooperation with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ).
The agreement to build Göktürk-1 was signed on July 13, 2009 between the Ministry of National Defence and Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales Group joint venture company, taking effect on July 19, 2009. Thales Alenia Space is in charge of supplying the satellite bus. Within the framework of the project, a facility for assembly, integration and testing of spacecraft (UMET) up to 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb) mass will be established in Turkey, which is considered as a critical infrastructure. The project is valued at more than € 250m.
The satellite with 0.80 m (2 ft 7 in) resolution is intended for use of reconnaissance over any location on earth without geographical restriction. Additionally, it will carry out various civil applications on mapping and planning, landcover survey, geology, ecosystem monitoring, disaster management, environmental control, coastal zone management, and water resources.
Dispute with Israel
Israel started a pressure campaign on the French company Thales Group, which is one of the shareholder of Telespazio. Israel expressed its fear that high resolution imagery taken by Göktürk-1 from its territory could eventually fall into the wrong hands. Israel, which supplies some of the critical electro-optical parts of the satellite's high-technology camera system to Thales Group, stipulated that Göktürk-1 should be made incapable of taking imagery as long as it is over Israel.
Turkey, after having received such information, demanded from the contractor Thales Group that it has to prove the satellite can take imagery from any location desired. The French producer rejected this demand in the beginning, retreated however later on as the Turkish side responded with stopping of payments.
Turkish bureaucrats requested further the launching of the satellite by an experienced and well-known space company. The French side on the other hand insists on commissioning a not much experienced satellite launch company in order to cut cost.
Due to troubles at the French side, the scheduled launch date of 2013 delayed at least one year.
Göktürk-2, another earth observation satellite of the Göktürk series (however with lower resolution compared to Göktürk-1) was successfully placed in orbit on December 18, 2012, and is currently transmitting imagery.