Türkiye's 1st spacecraft to travel to moon in 2026

Türkiye aims to be among the few countries with a presence on the moon

Ayse Bocuoglu Bodur  | 08.11.2023 - Update : 08.11.2023
Türkiye's 1st spacecraft to travel to moon in 2026


Türkiye aims to complete all processes in the first spacecraft developed with the Lunar Research Program (AYAP) within the scope of its National Space Program in 2026 and launch the vehicle into space.

According to information obtained by Anadolu from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TUBITAK), the country's 10-year plans and targets were determined within the scope of the National Space Program prepared with the contributions of the Ministry of Industry and Technology, the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) and various institutions in the country.

The AYAP, as one of the first of the 10 programs announced, aims to make Türkiye one of the few countries with a presence on the moon.

The first phase of the AYAP aims to explore the moon from orbit and make first contact with the lunar surface, while the second phase aims to land a rover on the surface using the soft landing method.

Within the scope of the first phase of the AYAP, mission operations will be carried out by developing a spacecraft that will reach the lunar orbit from Earth, collect data from there and then contact the lunar surface.

In addition, with the success of the technologies, products, software and equipment to be developed with national resources, the country's international reputation for system development and the ability to carry out challenging mission operations will be increased.

Within the scope of the AYAP, it is aimed to carry out Türkiye's first moon and deep space missions and gain operational experience.

It is planned to develop a spacecraft that can operate in lunar orbit (400,000 kilometers or around 249,000 miles from Earth) and is suitable for soft landing.

In addition, the Hybrid Propulsion System developed with domestic facilities is planned to gain space history, and high-resolution images and scientific data related to the origin of water on the moon, mini-magnetosphere formations, surface components, surface temperature and reflection maps and radiation from the lunar surface will be translated into information by scientists in Türkiye.

Although the project is currently being carried out under the AYAP within the National Space Program, many stakeholders from industry and academia in the country have direct input.

For this reason, it will also contribute to strengthening the country's space ecosystem.

Another contribution will be to increase Türkiye's competence in space sciences and the level of international cooperation with the information to be obtained through the data to be collected by the scientific payloads developed by domestic and international partners on the spacecraft.

With this project, which will open the door to deep space for the country, the interest of young people in space science and technologies will be strengthened.


Within the scope of the spacecraft, the system level design phase has been completed and a detailed design (equipment/module/component development) phase is being carried out.

The qualifications of all equipment to be used on the spacecraft for the mission have been reviewed and the production of qualification models for some equipment has been initiated.

After this equipment passes the qualification test, flight models will be produced and integrated into the spacecraft.

Within the scope of the spacecraft, contracts were signed for equipment and components with long delivery times, and the planning of all equipment to be used on the spacecraft flight model was completed.

After the production of flight models of the subsystems and equipment that make up the spacecraft, system-level integration will be carried out, followed by environmental (vibration, thermal-vacuum and electromagnetic compatibility) and functional tests.

All processes are planned to be completed in 2026, and the vehicle will be launched the same year.

Since it is Türkiye's first lunar mission, the success of the mission was prioritized above all else and plans were made.

In this context, while deciding on domestically developed equipment, it was taken into consideration to be at least at the prototype level and qualification model plans were realized.

Although there were collaborations for the procurement of some components and equipment from abroad, the moon mission and the spacecraft were designed indigenously.

The integration, tests and operations of the vehicle will also be carried out by Turkish human capital using its infrastructure.

The spacecraft developed within the scope of the first mission (AYAP) is being designed by taking into account the requirements of the soft landing mission.

In addition, concept design studies are also being carried out for the reconnaissance vehicle within the scope of the AYAP's second phase, together with some of the equipment (such as landing gear) and technologies (such as image-assisted navigation) required for soft landing.

While focusing on projects that will provide Türkiye with strategic capabilities, extensive and intensive work is being carried out on Earth observation and communication satellites, small satellites and the Internet of Things, launch systems, ground segmentation, remote sensing, space observation systems and their components, as well as deep space (AYAP) and manned space missions with the recent National Space Program in order to be more effective in space.

*Writing by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul

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