Turkey says successfully tests moon rocket engine

Turkey’s technology and industry minister on Sunday announced the country’s first hybrid engine to be used in its planned moon mission had passed its first test.

Two successful firings of the Probe Rocket System (SORS) ignition and the first ignition of the hybrid engine were carried out during the tests, Mustafa Varank told state-run Anadolu news agency.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in February announced Turkey’s plans to achieve first contact with the moon as part of its national space programme in 2023.

The announcement followed a call in January with Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk on possible cooperation in space technologies with Turkish companies.

"We witnessed two firings today. One was the ignition of the engine of the 635-millimeter probe rocket, which will probably be launched next month. We also performed the ignition tests of a smaller engine that we aim to use in the lunar mission, in space," Varank said.

The technology and industry minister added that the targeted time of 50 seconds was met in the tests.

"As of today, we can say that the first tests of the engine that can be used in the lunar mission have been successfully done,’’ he said, adding that a sample of the rocket engine would be launched from the northern Sinop province in May.

The hybrid engine is being developed by Delta V, Varank said, an aviation and space technologies subsidiary of the Presidency of Defence Industries(​SSB).

"As you know, Turkey is a country that wants to show its capabilities, especially in the space field, to the world and to commercialise this ability to gain economic benefits," Varank said.