From Burak Ege Bekdil, Defense News:  The Turkish Air Force’s road map for launching a space command is expected to encourage space-related procurement in the country.

The command will become fully operational by 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic, officials said. As a first step, the Air Force is establishing a Space Group Command, or a de facto “aerospace force” unit that will take on missions such as reconnaissance, early warning, electronic support, satellite command and satellite launching. . . .

Air Force officials say the space command road map details the work and related procurements that will enable the service to:

• Maintain reconnaissance and observation through imagery intelligence, regardless of weather and geography.

• Build communication systems for secure command and control.

• Detect ballistic missile threats early.

• Provide electronic support for operational and combat purposes.

The Air Force also plans to obtain cruising data, monitoring Turkish and non-Turkish satellite activity and upgrading Turkish satellite programs. . . .

“By 2023, we hope to become one of the major players in space technology and activity,” an Air Force official said.

Top government officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have said the republic’s centennial would mark several successful space operations. The state scientific research organization, TUBITAK, said in 2012 that Turkey would send its first spaceship into orbit by 2023. . . .

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said Jan. 3 that the government would start negotiations with state-run missile maker Roketsan for the early concept design phase of a new launch system “to ensure that military and civilian satellites can be sent into space. . . .”

Turkey plans to send into orbit 16 military and civilian satellites through 2020. A space industry expert here said Turkey could award up to $2 billion in satellite contracts in the next five years.  (graphic: turkbordobereli)