Russia is invited to participate in the development and construction of a Turkish spaceport in an as-yet unspecified equatorial country, Turkish Space Agency chief Serdar Huseyin Yildirim has told Sputnik.
“We could work with Russia in many areas, on the spaceport, on rocket engines. We discussed the possibility of Russia providing assistance in the construction of our spaceport. They have a great deal of experience in this area, both in launch pads and spaceports themselves,” Yildirim said, speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Global Space Exploration Conference in St. Petersburg.
The administrator specified that the Turkish side has spoken on matter with the Centre for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure, a Moscow-based subsidiary of Roscosmos. More concrete work could began within a year’s time, after Turkey decides on where to place its spaceport and on its cooperation with international partners.
Turkey is planning to build a spaceport in one of the world’s equatorial countries, and to carry out commercial rocket launches using the facility.
Moscow and Ankara are presently negotiating a bilateral agreement on outer space. In his remarks, Yildirim said that Russia had already summitted its version of the document for consideration by the Turkish side. The agreement is expected to be signed by the end of the year.
Turkey launched its first space rocket in 2018, and formally inaugurated its space agency in December of that year. In late 2020, the agency announced the testing of a rocket developed by defence contractor Roketsan. Erdogan hailed that event as a signal that Turkey had entered “the space league.”
🚀🇹🇷Cumhurbaşkanımız Sn. @RTErdogan’ın vizyonları; @Savunmasanayii öncülüğünde yürüttüğümüz çalışmalar kapsamında, yerli ve milli teknolojilerle ürettiğimiz Sonda Roketi 29 Ekim’de uzay sınırını aştı! Dualarını ve güvenini bizlerden esirgemeyen Aziz Türk Milletine saygılarımızla! pic.twitter.com/4U4R75HWFb— Roketsan (@roketsan) November 12, 2020
“We all want a Turkish citizen and a Turkish flag to go into space. We are working to accomplish this task. Russia is an important partner in this matter. It possesses resources and capabilities which make this possible,” Yildirim said in the earlier interview. He added however that “in addition to Russia, the Americans are also showing interest in cooperation with us in this field,” and that it would be up to president Erdogan to make a decision.