2nd Space Technologies Week united the students of space technologies and the youngsters with an interest in said technologies. The participants were addressed by speakers from public organisations, universities, and sector organisations, and were informed regarding Türkiye’s space efforts. Furthermore, an ideathon on “reducing carbon emissions through satellite technologies” and various workshop activities were held in the event.
Space Leads the Way for Technological Development
Dr. Ali Taha Koç, Head of Digital Transformation Office of the Presidency of Republic of Türkiye, expressed that many clues of today’s technologies existed in the TV series of the past in a speech he made in the “Türkiye’s Space Vision” session, held on the first day of the event. Dr. Koç gave examples from Star Trek as follows: “Star Trek not only gave us clues on the space travel of the future, but also contributed to propagation of many digital technologies we use in our daily lives. NASA named its first space shuttle Enterprise, for example. The show predicted the development of our smartphones and first plasma TVs, in addition to Bluetooth earpieces worn by Uhura for example.”
Dr. Koç also mentioned NASA was working on to further add value to data usage through AI applications. Dr. Koç focused on the importance of developing digital technologies with the following words: “NASA has been always a proponent of digitalisation, and as such, it started a digital transformation initiative towards the end of 2019 to transform data usage into digital space and further enhance it with AI applications. The vision of NASA in digital transformation is defined as completely utilising developing digital technologies to increase efficiency and encourage innovation culture.”
Dr. Koç shared that many devices like MR, GPS, artificial heart pumps, infrared thermometers, water filtration systems, battery-operated vacuums and artificial limbs were developed utilising space research and added that the efforts spent in this field are very precious.
NATO and USA Builds Up Their Presence in Space
Another speaker in the “Türkiye’s Space Vision” session, Prof. Dr. Melike Nikbay, Chair of Support Committee of STO AVT Panel of NATO and Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Istanbul Technical University, highlighted that a presence in space was becoming unavoidable for all countries and drew attention to three important developments:
- In the NATO Summit of 2019, it was decided that a NATO Space Policy would be developed.
- U.S. Space Force was founded in December of the same year.
- NATO Space Centre was founded in Germany in October 2020.
Projects Advance at Multiple Fronts
Serdar Demirel, Vice President of Defence Industries addressed the participants in the session titled “National Satellite Technologies” and informed the audience on the size of the sector at the beginning of his speech. Mr. Demirel said that global size of sub-sectors active in satellite production, launching services, satellite services, and ground equipment was about $271 billion, and the sector employed more than 1 million people.
Mr. Demirel summarised the works that are ongoing within the Presidency of Defence Industries on space under 5 categories:
- Reconnaissance and observation satellite projects
- Satellite communications projects
- Navigation satellite projects
- Space R&D projects
- Satellite launching systems projects
Mr. Demirel gave short briefings on each headline and focused on İMECE and National Ground Station Development projects, saying the completion of said two projects would bring Türkiye to a new level in satellite imaging.
Turkish Aerospace Prepares for Its First Satellite Export with ARSAT-SG1
Prof. Dr. Temel Kotil, President and CEO of Turkish Aerospace briefed the audience on the New Generation Communications Satellites Product Family his company is developing in a session named “Our Future Duties in the Skies”.
Turkish Aerospace is developing “Small-GEO” satellites for the international market with said product family. The satellites in Small-GEO class are expected to have cheaper production and launching costs compared to traditional communications satellites. As such, they are equipped with electric propulsion.
Turkish Aerospace is working on the first member of this satellite family under GSATCOM company, a joint venture between it and Argentina’s INVAP company. ARSAT-SG1 satellite will be produced thanks to this cooperation, and the satellite will be offered to Argentina’s service. ARSAT-SG1 is expected to be launched in 2023.
Workshops Led to Broadened Horizons
In the 2nd Space Technologies Week, four workshop activities were organised as well, named Traveling to Space Workshop, Origami in Space Workshop, Build a Rocket Workshop, and Build Your Own Satellite Workshop.
In the Traveling to Space Workshop, rudimentary astronomical knowledge like solar system and the Earth’s place in it was given to its participants, in addition to topics like force, aerodynamics, material science. In the workshop, each participant designed their own rocket to travel to Mars, presented their design at the end of the workshop, and then these designs were evaluated.
In the Origami in Space workshop, the limiting factors in space capable designs were discussed, and how experience in other fields contribute to the space designs along with the relationship of origami art to space were explained. Participants then made a rocket shaped origami.
In the Build a Rocket Workshop, the participants designed a rocket with straws, paper, and cardboard, and launched their mini rocket they mounted at one end of their straw by blowing into the other end.
In the Build Your Own Satellite Workshop, the participants designed their own satellites with easily accessible materials like an engineer. They combined power supply, container, scientific devices, communication devices and navigation systems made from these materials.