Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space announced the official start of the Göktürk observation satellite system for the Turkish Ministry of Defence. The original contract was signed by Telespazio and the Turkish Defence Ministry in 2009, and the programme now officially enters the design and construction phase, with the satellite launch planned for 2013.

Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales company, is the prime contractor for the system, which comprises an Earth observation satellite equipped with a high-resolution optical sensor, a satellite integration and test centre to be built in Turkey, and the complete ground segment, in charge of mission control, in-orbit operation, data acquisition and processing. Local industrial partners include Tai A.S., Aselsan A.S., Tubitak Uekae, Roketsan A.S. and TR Tecnoloji. Telespazio will also create a joint venture with a local partner to develop and market application services.

Thales Alenia Space will build the satellite and develop an integration and test centre in Turkey. Telespazio, in addition to the ground segment, is responsible for services during the satellite launch, early orbit and test phase. Turkish industry will be involved in the system design and development, as well as supplying some Göktürk system components. In particular, local partners will assist in the construction of the data acquisition station, the satellite integration centre, mission planning systems and remote sensing data processors.