In a recent report from Sputnik news agency, head of the space agency, Serdar Huseyin Yildirim commented that Turkey is in talks with three nations as it seeks to offer assistance in developing a spaceport in Somalia and a rocket to carry out lunar landings, according to the head of its space agency.
These comments came on the sidelines of the Global Space Exploration Conference, held in St Petersburg between the 14 and 18 of June.
Although there wasn’t any confirmation on countries involved, his remarks suggested that Russia was one of them. “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 commented.
Early in February this year, there were several reports that Ankara was considering the construction of a spaceport in Somalia as part of a plan to develop a $1bn space exploration programme.
According to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this development is aimed at carrying out a “hard” landing on the Moon in 2023, the centenary of the founding of modern Turkey.
This mission is aimed to allow Turkish scientists to gain experience for a soft landing in 2028 which will be followed by the carrying out of scientific experiments and the deployment of an exploration vehicle.
Yildirim added Turkey is currently in dialogue with Centre for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Russian space agency Roscosmos, and an extensive and detailed planning is in order due next year, as soon as the location of the spaceport is finalized.
After launching its space agency in December 2018, Turkey announced the testing of a rocket developed by defence contractor Roketsan in 2020.
The country also plans to send a Turkish astronaut to the International Space Station, and launch satellites to set up its own global positioning system.
Last year, in an interview with Sputnik, Yildirim indicated that the Turkish space agency is currently working on 30 separate projects, and is currently engaged in talks with over 20 nations in a collaborative deal, including Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan, China, Pakistan, India, and Azerbaijan.