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Turkey’s Gokturk-2 Earth observation satellite weighs 450 kilograms and has a resolution of 2.5 meters. The satellite’s computer and software were fully manufactured in Turkey.

The Turkish government’s Earth observation (EO) ambitions moved forward on Dec. 19, 2012, with the successful launch of the Gokturk-2 medium-resolution optical satellite.

Turkish officials said the 400-kilogram Gokturk-2, made mainly in Turkey but with an optical imager provided by South Korea, was safely in orbit at nearly 700 kilometers in altitude and had sent signals to a ground station in northern Norway.

The satellite was launched aboard a Chinese Long March 2D vehicle operated from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province. It was the 19th launch of a Chinese Long March rocket, all variants included, for 2012—a year Chinese launch service officials had forecast would be particularly active for the rocket line.

Gokturk-2 is Turkey's second EO satellite, following the small Rasat satellite launched in 2011 aboard a Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr rocket. Rasat has a ground resolution of about 7.5 meters, meaning it can detect objects of that diameter and larger. Gokturk-2 has a 2.5-meter resolution and includes 15 gigabytes of image storage capacity.

Turkish Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergun said before the launch that Gokturk-2 should be seen as an investment in high technology and a signal of Turkey's determination to have its own, restrictions-free use of EO imagery.

Image courtesy of Anadolu Agency.

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