Turkey to Make RASAT Earth Observation Images Available Online

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Italy’s volcano, Mount Etna, sends up plumes of smoke in this image captured on June 7, 2012, by the Turkish research satellite, RASAT. Image Credit: TÜBITAK.



It was a proud moment when Turkey’s TÜBITAK UZAY (Space Technologies Research Institute) successfully launched RASAT, the country’s first domestically designed and built Earth LOE (Low Earth Orbit) observation satellite on Aug. 17, 2011. RASAT carries a high-resolution optical imaging system and has created thousands of 1/25,000 scale maps used for a wide variety of purposes – from monitoring wildfires to coordinating sustainable urban development.


The 93-kilogram RASAT satellite. Image Credit: TÜBITAK.

The 93-kilogram RASAT satellite. Image Credit: TÜBITAK.



The RASAT images – several hundred thousand of them covering a total of 3.8 million square kilometers thus far – have been available to 50 public institutions, universities, and private companies. Later this year, the general public will be able to download and use the images via the Internet.


According to TÜBITAK UZAY, goals of the RASAT mission include:


• To develop space-qualified systems using current technologies and gain flight experience by succeeding in operating these systems in space.
• To meet the requirements of Turkey in the field of remote sensing as much as possible.
• To investigate the current capabilities of Turkey in the field for space technologies and to use as much as possible.
• To increase the number of qualified individuals in the field of satellite technologies.
• To meet the requirements of Turkish space industry through development of critical modules.
• To prove the space-based capabilities of TÜBİTAK UZAY to Turkey and the world.


Turkey continued its space program on Dec. 18, 2012, with the successful launch of Göktürk-2, a 400-kilogram military/civilian Earth observation satellite with even higher resolution imaging than found on RASAT.


 Göktürk-2, launched in December 2012. Image Credit: Turkish Aerospace Industries.


Göktürk-2, launched in December 2012. Image Credit: Turkish Aerospace Industries.