Turkey's TÜRKSAT 5A and 5B satellites will be launched by U.S. billionaire Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Turkish Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan said Thursday.
"Our friends decided to launch our satellites with the Falcon 9 rockets of Airbus' subcontractor, SpaceX," Arslan said at 3rd Global SatShow in Istanbul.
The agreement to build and launch satellites will be worth around $500 million, Turksat Chairman said during his speech at the same event.
In October, Airbus submitted the best bid to build the satellites. The 5A satellite will be launched in 2020 and the 5B in 2021.
Musk, chief executive of American electric car maker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, met President Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on Wednesday and discussed cooperation between Tesla, SpaceX and Turkish firms.
Musk's SpaceX plans a manned mission to Mars by 2024 and a rocket capable of carrying passengers from one continent to another in less than an hour.