Most satellites that depend on chemical propulsion once in orbit are designed with an orbit lifetime of some 12-15 years. However, electrical propulsion can dramatically extend that life in orbit.
Turksat is using Airbus Defence & Space to build its latest craft, Turksat 5A which is scheduled for launch in later this year by SpaceX. And Turksat has high expectations that the satellite, which uses the Airbus Eurostar NEO all-electrical platform, will give it more than 30 years of life in orbit.
Hasan Huseyin Ertok, VP at Turksat, speaking on the Global Satellite & Space Show webcast, said that Turksat 5A will carry 42 Ku-band transponders, and be located at a somewhat unused Turkish orbital slot at 31 degrees East.
Turkey is also itself building its own Turksat 6A craft for launch in 2022 and there’s another Airbus under construction Turksat 5B, for launch next year also by SpaceX.
However, the upcoming launch of Turksat 5A has to be fitted into a very tight 31 degrees East orbital slot, and where ArabSat, Eutelsat, SES and Avanti are all working within a half-degree of 31 degrees. Each of Turksat’s rivals have carved out frequencies and beams which have been coordinated to minimise interference.
Turksat still has certain frequency rights to the location despite vacating the slot some 10 years ago and will be addressing Turkey as well as mobile markets. And with a 30+ year lifetime – provided some other component doesn’t fail – this should be a very valuable satellite.