Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkey Set to Launch Second-Chance Satellite

ANKARA -- A telecommunications satellite built for Turkey by a French group is ready for launch in July, the minister in charge of the project said Friday. Turksat 1A, the first of two satellites built by French Aerospatiale and Alcatel together with MBB of Germany, was lost in January when the European Ariane rocket failed to release it into orbit. The Turksat 1B was ready for launch from French Guiana, Transport Minister Mehmet Kostepen said. "Everything is on schedule. There are no hitches. We will launch between July 27 and 29." Kostepen said he would be in France on June 17 when the satellite would be transported from Cannes to the launch site for tests. The new launch, if successful, will make Turkey the 16th country with a national telecommunications satellite. The system will serve airlines, banks, hotels, newspaper printing and remote controlled networks as well as diplomatic, education and defense systems. It will look over Eurasia, from Central Europe to Central Asia and can carry broadcasts from 22 television channels. Aerospatiale was building a new satellite to replace the lost Turksat at no extra cost according to the deal, Kostepen said. The replacement will be launched in 1996. Kostepen said Turkey was not seeking indemnity for the failed launch because the deal stipulated that payments begin only after the satellite was in orbit and functioning. "The contract says a new satellite is to be built at same price and under same terms if anything goes wrong. This is being done," said Kostepen. "We have not made any payments. Had we paid and suffered the inconvenience of the delay, then we would have sought damages." Turkey hopes the transponder hire will bring in $1 billion over 10 years, in a program that will cost Turkey $600 million over the next 10 years.