Turkey's first domestic observation satellite to go into orbit next year
RASAT, the first observation satellite designed and produced by Turkish engineers, is set to be launched into space next year from Yasny Launch Base in southwestern Russia . RASAT was produced by the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council's Space Technologies Research Institute (TUBITAK-UZAY) and funded by the State Planning Organization (DPT). The agreement to launch RASAT was signed last month between TUBITAK officials and the international space company Kosmotras. The primary purpose of the RASAT program is to improve the infrastructure required to assemble, integrate and test small satellites in Turkey without any foreign funding. In addition, images acquired from RASAT will be used for city and regional planning, forestry, and agricultural purposes. Produced with the aim of demonstrating Turkey 's ability to produce satellites, RASAT will be among a number of satellites to be launched by a Ukraine-made Dnepr launch vehicle operated by Kosmotras. Dnepr is known as the most sensitive and effective launch vehicle used for low-orbit mini-satellite launches. The satellite could do much to boost the potential of Turkey 's high-tech sector. TUBITAK-UZAY, founded in 1985, focuses on space technology, electronics, information technology and related areas. The institute leads and takes part in research and development projects.