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Turkish space program launch from Somalia will cost more than $ 1 billion – Middle East Monitor

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Turkey’s plans for its own space program will cost more than $ 1 billion and will begin with a rocket launch from a site in Somalia, it has been revealed. It is hoped that this will result in the use of a shuttle to conduct scientific research.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan published a calendar for the country’s space program recently announced last week. A hard landing on the moon is planned for 2023 using a locally produced hybrid rocket on the anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. By 2028, we hope to be able to make a soft landing on the moon.

The official Turkish Space Agency (TUA) has an annual budget of just over $ 40 million, which the Turkish opposition says is insufficient for this ambitious project. According to Middle East Eye, who quoted a Turkish source close to the government, the whole program must be coordinated by the TUA, hence the low budget. The expected cost of at least $ 1 billion will be funded “by different government entities, such as large state defense industry companies.” The anonymous source added that: “The Defense Ministry itself will also [funding] allowances. “

Although Libya has been considered for a launch site, the Ankara government has chosen Somalia as the location where it will be built. Somalia was reportedly chosen for scientific reasons, such as its proximity to the equator, as well as for security reasons. The Horn of Africa nation has been a key security partner with Turkey for the past decade and is home to the largest Ankara military training base in the world.

READ: What drives Turkey’s growing influence in Africa?

Construction and maintenance of the launch site alone will cost more than $ 350 million. Grants of around $ 150 million will also be awarded to Turkish doctoral students to help them study astrophysics abroad.

The source pointed out that the plans could be changed. “The 2023 and 2028 goals are quite aggressive and there are many variables that could change. Yet having such a goal will help Turkey finally focus on the mission which is space.”

In recent years, Turkey has been working on its spatial plans, especially in competition with geopolitical rivals such as the UAE. On January 8, it launched its TURKSAT 5A satellite with the help of the American aerospace company SpaceX.

SpaceX owner Elon Musk is also a critical asset to Turkey’s space ambitions as a whole. He met with President Erdogan in 2017 to discuss the satellite program. In January, the two had a phone call to discuss SpaceX’s cooperation with Turkey, leading some to speculate that Musk’s company could facilitate Turkey’s proposed moon landing in 2023.

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