Turkey aims to reach the moon by 2023
At an event in Ankara, Erdogan outlined 10 strategic space goals, which include blasting a Turkish citizen into space to undertake a scientific mission and to land an astronaut on the moon.
"The first rough landing will be made on the moon with our national and authentic hybrid rocket that shall be launched into orbit in the end of 2023 through international cooperation," Erdogan said, detailing a two-phase mission.
Last month, Erdogan spoke with Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk to discuss possible space technology cooperation with Turkish companies.
Turkey has conducted other space launches. Last month it sent the Turksat 5A satellite into orbit from a launch site in the US, in cooperation with SpaceX. A second satellite, Turksat 5B is scheduled to be launched in the second quarter of 2021.
Speaking at the event, Erdogan added that Turkey aims to improve work on satellite technologies and establish a space port with allies.
Turkey has previously put reconnaissance and communication satellites into orbit and set up a satellite systems integration and test centre. They have also manufactured a domestic HD satellite called IMECE, which is set to be launched in 2022.
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"Our feet will be on earth but our eyes will be in space. Our roots will be on earth, our branches will be up in the sky," Erdogan said.
His announcement came shortly after the UAE announced that its Hope probe had successfully entered Mars' orbit, making it the Arab world's first interplanetary mission.