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Turkey and Ukraine sign treaty for space cooperation

Planning to make its first space launch in the coming years, Turkey has signed a new treaty with Ukraine for the collaborative production of spacecraft; the treaty covers a shared work area relating to the production of the spacecraft and nuclear energy.

According to the “Space Research and Usage” treaty, the two countries are going to collaborate in programs including enhancement and production of space rocket systems; observation and evaluation of lunar devices; ground-deployed observations; space-related research using plants; student and scientist exchange programs; and educational facilities.

The two countries’ foundations in the field of astronautics will have joint attempts not only to launch funds to support joint research, scientific and technological programs, associated scientific and technological centers, labs and joint activities, but also to actualize joint projects.

In compliance with the verdict given by the Higher Commission of Science and Technology in Ankara on March 11, 2005, the Ministry of Transportation and the Turkish Air Force are to spend YTL 1.25 billion on the 2005-2014 National Space Research Project, undertaken by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). The money is to be spent on training astronauts by 2008 and establishing a national launchpad system and infrastructure for the national space system by 2009.
Turkey has devoted YTL 80 million to work on the project in 2008; this figure will not be less than YTL 120 million in 2009 and YTL 150 million each year between 2010 and 2014. According to the program, YTL 73 million is for scientific studies, YTL 946 million for technology, YTL 30 million for application, YTL 45 million for people and information, YTL 30 million for international collaboration and just YTL 1 million for supervision and coordination.

TÜBİTAK will collaborate closely with the European Space Agency and NASA. The earliest Turkish mission control is expected to be built in 2012. Ankara is considered more likely in terms of hosting the base while other candidates (Mersin, Antalya and İzmit) are also being considered. Turkey has already started investigating the Houston base in the US and the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan, leading to cooperation with both the US and Russia in this project.
Turkey’s plan of action for 2010 within the National Outer Space Program is also ready. Turkey, upon completing its astrophysical research and studies of gyroscope technology enhancement in 2007, will establish the National Space (system) infrastructure in 2008. Turkey will then develop the Earth Observation Research Satellite (BILSAT), designing and developing low-cost satellite types (micro and nano) and data harmonization. Turkey, aiming to start astronaut education programs in 2010, is also planning to begin the national launch system and low-cost rocket production experiments during the same year. Turkey is expected to send six astronauts into space in the first leg of the project. Plans for 2011 include solar system and planetary investigations; magnetic field research and establishing a space base; by 2013 the project will develop the ability to scan comets. Finally a space shuttle built in Turkey will be launched in 2014.