SpaceX launches Türkiye's 1st homegrown communications satellite to orbit (video)

SpaceX sent Türkiye's first domestically produced communications satellite to orbit today (July 8).

A Falcon 9 rocket launched the Turksat 6A spacecraft from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station today at 7:30 p.m. EDT (2330 GMT).

The Falcon 9's first stage came back to Earth shortly thereafter as planned. It touched down about 8.5 minutes after liftoff on SpaceX's Just Read the Instructions droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rests on the deck of a droneship shortly after launching the Turksat 6A communications satellite on July 8, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

It was the 15th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description.

The rocket's upper stage, meanwhile, continued hauling Turksat 6A toward geosynchronous transfer orbit, deploying the spacecraft there 35.5 minutes after liftoff as planned. 

Turksat 6A will then make its own way to its final orbit, where it will undergo a roughly month-long series of checkouts before entering service, Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, Türkiye's transport and infrastructure minister, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The Turksat 6A communications satellite, seen before encapsulation inside the payload fairing of its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

Turksat 6A is Türkiye's first fully homegrown communications satellite, the English-language Turkish newspaper reported.

"Turksat 6A will widen the country's satellite coverage and meet the television broadcasting needs," the Hürriyet Daily News wrote, citing Uraloğlu.

"India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, which were not served by currently operating satellites, will be covered with Turksat 6A, reaching 5 billion people," the minister added.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:15 p.m. ET on July 8, with news of successful launch, rocket landing and satellite deployment.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.