Home MSI TDR Newest and Most Capable of Türksat’s Satellite Fleet: Türksat 5B

Newest and Most Capable of Türksat’s Satellite Fleet: Türksat 5B

by MSI

Türksat 5B, whose contract was signed in November 2017, will significantly increase Türkiye’s existing capacity in space. The satellite, to be the most capable and newest member of Türksat’s satellite fleet, will increase Türkiye’s current Ka-band data throughput more than 15-fold.

Türksat 5B is a milestone on Türksat’s transformations from being a TV-focused satellite services provider to SATCOM-focused services provider. The technical capabilities of the satellite bring an important capacity increase, and furthermore, it will provide an added value that goes above and beyond the capacity increase thanks to a series of projects led by Türksat. The most important of these projects resulted in the inclusion of two systems designed and produced by ASELSAN, within the nationalisation efforts of Türksat. In addition, as with the other satellite procurement projects, a team of Türksat employees received training in satellite technologies abroad. The team will strengthen Türkiye’s human resources in satellites even further.

Türksat received Türksat 5B from its producer Airbus Defence and Space after its design, production, and testing processes successfully concluded in November 2021.
Türksat 5B was launched from USA at 0658 Türkiye (Charlie) time.
Türksat 5B was separated from the second stage of its rocket approximately 30 minutes after launch.
Türksat 5B will enter its orbit after a 164-day long trip in June using its electric propulsion system.

The Story Began in 2017 for Türksat 5B

The contract for Türksat 5B was signed between Türksat and Airbus Defence and Space in November 2017. The satellite was developed based on Airbus Defence and Space’s Electric Orbit Raising (EOR) version of Eurostar E3000. E3000 is a proven platform, with 94 total orders and over 1000 years of total mission time.

The project staff was created after the signing of the contract, and worked on planning, design, and optimisation of the system. After these efforts, the production process for Türksat 5B was commenced. With completion of production and testing processes, the satellite was delivered to Türksat in November 2021.

Türksat 5B set off for its launch on 29 November 2021 and reached the USA on 30 November. After a period of preparation, test and fuelling processes lasting for 18 days, the satellite became ready to be launched. The satellite was launched on 19 December, at 0658 Türkiye (Charlie) time as planned, from Cape Canaveral spaceport.

August is the Target

Türksat 5B comes with an electric propulsion unlike all previous generations of Türksat’s satellites. Electric propulsion is a recent technology, and offers plenty of advantages to chemical propulsion, the traditional way to move satellites in space. Chemical propulsion systems need a very large volume, and they also count for a significant portion of satellite’s total weight. Electric propulsion systems, on the other hand, need much less volume and have a lower mass. As such, they offer much higher payload capacities when compared to chemical propulsion satellites of similar mass.

The only disadvantage of electric propulsion compared to chemical propulsion is much lower acceleration capabilities. It will take 164 days for Türksat 5B to reach its orbit.

The satellite will be brought into service with 3 phases. The operators expanded the satellite’s orbit, bringing its closest distance from earth to 735 km from 300 in the first phase that lasted for 5 days. The second phase, currently ongoing, will have the satellite reach its projected service orbit in June by applying thrusts and various manoeuvres for 156 days.

As for the third phase, the orbital tests will commence, lasting for 1.5 months or thereabouts. The final controls will be done in the ground control station within Türksat’s premises. After all the tests and controls will have been completed, the satellite is expected to be fully operational in August.

Türksat offers communications services to UAVs in Ku-Band with its current satellites. With Türksat 5B, the communications capacity for this particular service will increase, and UAVs will utilise Ka-Band to communicate.

Türksat 5B, Herald of Innovations

Türksat 5B will be able to offer services to Türkiye and 27 other countries once it is fully operational. With its new Ku-Band capacity, seeing use very recently around the world, and other technical features, the satellite will bring plenty of innovations to Türksat’s services:

  • 15-fold increase on data transmission speeds.
  • Türkiye’s total capacity will increase from 1.8 Gbps to 12 Gbps.
  • 55 Gbps of total global capacity will be reached.
  • Türksat currently provides naval communications services to Coast Guard Command, TPIC, TPAO and TÜBİTAK. With Türksat 5B, new services will be offered, and existing ones will expand their reach. Furthermore, Mediterranean and Arabian Peninsula regions will receive Ka-band coverage.
  • Türksat currently provides Ku-Band communications services to UAVs with its existing satellites. With Türksat 5B, Ka-Band services will be offered for UAVs for the first time, and existing Ku-Band capacity will increase.
  • Türksat, will start offering services to airlines for the first time as well. With 5B, passenger planes will receive internet access.
  • With Türksat 5B, Internet of Things applications will be supported as well. Türksat is working on hardware and software to acquire SATCOM capabilities without the need of a parabolic antenna. Tests were done in 2021 in this regard.
  • High-capacity solutions will be brought online with providers to support 5G. Türksat was able to achieve transmission through satellites utilising Turkcell’s LTE systems and IPSec structure. It is planned to utilise Ka-Band to provide high speed communications for the providers.
  • Joint solutions will be created with relevant organisations for emergency services utilising high speed capabilities of Türksat 5B.
  • With high frequency communications, smaller ground antennas will be needed.

Türksat 5B’s innovations are raising interest in the international arena as well. Türksat made a service sale for the first time before its satellite reached its orbit. Türksat’s talks with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen are ongoing as well.

Türksat currently provides naval communications services to Coast Guard Command, TPIC, TPAO and TÜBİTAK. With Türksat 5B, new services will be offered, and existing ones will expand their reach.

Türksat Preparing Itself and Its Services for the Future

Türksat is also accelerating its branding and product management efforts in addition to increasing number and total capacity of its satellites. The company aims to enjoy a greater share of international market with its brands and services. The products in the new brands are being overseen as “product families”, as seen on PeycON brand. Türksat provides SATCOM on the Move (SOTM) solutions with its PeycON brand. With these PeycON series antennas, developed to meet the requirements of both civilian and military users, the company is now capable of offering SATCOM services with its own brand. The family has members like HidrON and TerrON as well, and the development work continues on the whole product family.

Broadcasting Services, Aviation Services, Wide Bandwidth Systems, Mobile Services and Nautical Services are the headlines Türksat is working on with its branding activities.

Türksat is also active 24/7 to protect its satellites and in a greater extent, the security of “space homeland”. The company is observing the spectrum with a 25-person team in its monitoring centre. Interference is one of the focuses in this monitoring, and when required, the team can intervene.

 Technical Specifications of Türksat 5B
 Platform: Airbus DS Eurostar E3000-EOR
 Platform Electrical Power: 15 kW
 Orbital Location: 42° East
 Coverage Area: Türkiye, Europe, Central West and Central East Africa, South Africa, and Middle East
 Launch Weight: 4.340 kg
 Propulsion Method: Electric Propulsion
 Offered Services: Broadcasting and Data Services
 Uplink Band: Ku-Band, New Ku-Band, Ka-Band and Ka-BSS Band
 Downlink Band: Ku-Band, New Ku-Band, Ka-Band and Ka-BSS Band
 Capacity: 1040 MHz Ku + KaBSS frequency band + >55 Gbps data throughput
 Total Ka-Band Capacity: >55 Gbps
 Manoeuvre Lifetime: >35 year 
Excitement for the Launch Covered Cape Canaveral
 Dr. Ömer Fatih Sayan, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Prof. Dr. Kemal Yüksek, Chairman of the Board of Türksat, Hasan Hüseyin Ertok, CEO of Türksat, and François Gaullier, Senior Vice President Telecommunications Satellites at Airbus Defence and Space watched the launch of Türksat 5B on site and addressed the participants of 2nd Satellite Technologies Week event. 
  
 Türkiye Becomes an Equipment Producer with Türksat 5B
 Dr. Ömer Fatih Sayan, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure highlighted that with Türksat 5B, the satellite services capacity of Türkiye is doubled, and the satellite internet services capacity is increased much more, and that Türksat will contribute to the communications of many more countries. 
 Dr. Sayan also commented on the national systems on the satellite. He expressed that Türkiye has transformed into a country that is able to produce its own equipment for its satellites from a mere end-user, and with Türksat 6A, Türkiye will transform even further to being a satellite producer. 
  
 Our Target is to Achieve Complete Independence
 Prof. Dr. Kemal Yüksek, Chairman of the Board of Türksat also focused on the nationalisation of the satellite technologies and commented: “Our sole target is to achieve complete independence of Türkiye. Nationalisation is an important part of this concept, but it is a process rather than an event, and gradual steps must be taken to achieve it. Türksat 5B is very important for this reason. Two systems developed by ASELSAN will serve on this satellite. The operation of the systems in space is critical, and their active operational time is very important for them to be accepted in the sector. We started this process with Türksat 5B.” 
  
 A Milestone for Türksat
 Hasan Hüseyin Ertok, CEO of Türksat presented his case on the importance of Türksat 5B for the company: “2021 has been a very important year for us. We were here to see Türksat 5A launched in January. Now we are back for the launch of Türksat 5B. We are proud to launch two satellites in one year. 
 Türksat 5B is a milestone for us. We were offering mostly broadcasting services in our previous satellites. With 4B satellite we started offering data services in the Ku-Band. With the increasing data communication needs in recent times, most satellite operators started focusing on data communications in their investments. We too started working on this direction in 2015-2016, and with the contract we signed in 2017, we are here right now.
 Türksat 5B is the most important step in the Türksat’s transformation. Most of our services are on broadcasting right now. We plan to achieve an even revenue split between broadcasting and data in the next five years by increasing our data communications revenue.”
  
 Success Despite Pandemic Conditions
 François Gaullier, Senior Vice President Telecommunications Satellites at Airbus Defence and Space, highlighted the fact that Türksat 5B, a multinational effort utilising installations in different countries for testing and launching, was able to get ready for launch successfully despite pandemic conditions.  
Left to right: Hasan Hüseyin Ertok, CEO of Türksat, Dr. Ömer Fatih Sayan, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Prof. Dr. Kemal Yüksek, Chairman of the Board of Türksat, and François Gaullier, Senior Vice President Telecommunications Satellites at Airbus Defence and Space, were in a programme together hosted by Dilara Zengin, Correspondent in Washington DC of Anadolu Agency.
Türksat Continues to Advance into the Future
 Türksat 5B project is also a good indicator of the steps Türksat is taking to advance into the future. In all its satellite procurement projects since Türksat 3A, the company included provisions to ensure a Turkish team to receive training regarding satellite technologies. A 12-person Türksat engineer team was also included in the projects for Türksat 5A and 5B satellites, and said engineers completed their training on project design of space and satellite technologies, and the design, production, and testing processes of projects. 
 Another important feature of Türksat 5B is the inclusion of indigenous equipment designed and produced in Türkiye. A Ku-Band receiver and Ka-Band low noise amplifier (LNA) developed by ASELSAN serve on the satellite. These systems are the first Turkish ones to serve in a communications satellite. 
 ASELSAN conducted the activities regarding the development of these systems as an R&D project with its own resources. The company started the project to develop and produce these systems in January 2018 and delivered them in schedule of the satellite’s project calendar. 
 In the press release of ASELSAN regarding the development, the company had said: “Thanks to a close cooperation with international companies that are active in space sector within this project, many gains were made such as preparation and classification of documents in line with space standards, the production of space-qualified printed circuit boards nationally, the verification of space-qualified production processes, and the inclusion of many comprehensive new processes into the qualification processes.”
In all its satellite procurement projects since Türksat 3A, the company included provisions to ensure a Turkish team to receive training regarding satellite technologies. A 12-person Türksat engineer team was also included in the projects for Türksat 5A and 5B satellites, to receive training in various specialties.

8 Satellites, 5 Active

After Türksat 5B enters service, the company will have 5 active satellites (Türksat 5B, 5A, 4B, 4A and 3A) serving in space. 3 inactive satellites (Türksat 2A, 1C and 1B) also exist under the company’s ownership.

Türksat 5A

Technical specifications of Türksat 5A, launched at the beginning of this year, are as follows:

  • Producer: Airbus DS
  • Platform: E3000-EOR
  • Launch Date: 7 January 2021
  • Orbital Location: 31° East
  • Manoeuvre Lifetime: 31 years
  • Uplink Band: Ku-Band and New Ku-Band
  • Downlink Band: Ku-Band and New Ku-Band
  • Transponders: 36 and 72 MHz
  • Coverage Area: West and East Türkiye, Middle East and North Africa, South Africa, West Africa, Germany

Türksat 4B

Technical specifications of Türksat 4B, still in service, are as follows:

  • Producer: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO)
  • Platform: DS2000
  • Launch Date: 16 October 2015
  • Orbital Location: 50° East
  • Manoeuvre Lifetime: 30 years
  • Uplink Band: Ku-Band, Ka-Band, C-Band
  • Downlink Band: Ku-Band, Ka-Band, C-Band
  • Transponders: 36 and 72 MHz
  • Coverage Area: West and East Türkiye

Türksat 4A

Technical specifications of Türksat 4A, still in service, are as follows:

  • Producer: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO)
  • Platform: DS2000
  • Launch Date: 14 February 2014
  • Orbital Location: 42° East
  • Manoeuvre Lifetime: 30 years
  • Uplink Band: Ku-Band, Ku-BSS Band, Ka-Band
  • Downlink Band: Ku-Band, Ku-BSS Band, Ka-Band
  • Transponders: 27, 33, 54 and 72 MHz
  • Coverage Area: West and East Türkiye, Africa

Türksat 3A

Technical specifications of Türksat 3A, still in service, are as follows:

  • Producer: Alcatel (Thales) Alenia Space Industries
  • Platform: SpaceBus 4000B2
  • Launch Date: 13 June 2008
  • Orbital Location: 42° East
  • Manoeuvre Lifetime: 20 years
  • Uplink Band: Ku-Band
  • Downlink Band: Ku-Band
  • Transponders: 36 and 72 MHz
  • Coverage Area: West and East Türkiye

Türksat 2A

Türksat 2A communications satellite successfully served between 2001-2016.

Türksat 1C

Türksat 1C communications satellite entered service in 1996. Its service in the 42° East orbit ended after Türksat 3A satellite entered the same orbit.

Türksat 1B

The first communications satellite of Türkiye, Türksat 1B, successfully served between 1994-2006.

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