President Erdogan Opens Turkey’s First Space-Grade Optics Manufacturing Facility, OPMER Laboratories

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The Opening Ceremony of the National Infrastructures for the Technology Development  was held at Optical Systems Research Laboratory (OPMER) in Ankara and honored by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank on 31 October 2018. The opening ceremony hosted The Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar together with the President of Defense Industries Prof. Dr. Ismail Demir, Commander of Turkish Armed Forces General Yasar Guler, and many high ranking guests from government and private sectors.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Erdogan emphasized that “Turkey is rapidly advancing in defense, aeronautical and space technologies to become a powerful country and showed significant progress especially in high-resolution satellite imaging, communication satellites, satellite launch systems, satellite data processing, data storage and sub-systems”. Erdogan said he always reminded that Turkey must design, produce and launch more advanced satellites after commissioning those ongoing satellite projects. He continued “One of our goals in this context was the production of satellite cameras and large-scale mirrors in our country. With this purpose, OPMER was founded as part of TUBITAK Space Technologies Research Institute”.

Erdogan stated that the design, integration, and testing of the camera used in the IMECE Satellite Project was made by TUBITAK and said: “Precision optical components such as mirror, lens, prism, and filters used in this camera were supplied from abroad. These critical technology products were both costly and subject to export restriction. Thanks to the OPMER Project, we now have the opportunity to develop precision optical components with our own national capabilities. In this way, we now ensure that the knowledge of critical designs and high amounts of money paid remains within our country. The activities at OPMER Laboratories are not limited to the production of optical components only, but also we will carry out the design, measurement, integration, and testing activities of those products”.

Erdogan expressed “OPMER, as one of a few similar infrastructures in the world, consists of a total of 16 laboratories. In addition to the satellite cameras, this facility will enable the production of large-scale mirrors used in telescopes and other precision optics, which could otherwise be difficult to supply from abroad”. He also added that OPMER being the first establishment of its kind in Turkey and among a few laboratories in the world to perform R&D activities on these areas above”.

The opening ceremony was followed by the laboratory visits by the President Erdogan and the ministers. The visits included a tour to the manufacturing, metrology, and integration laboratories. During the tour, President Erdogan has been closely involved with the work done at OPMER.

The first mirror prototype manufactured at OPMER was presented as a gift to Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.