The Turkish president on Thursday praised the launch of the country’s first mini-satellite into space. 

“I congratulate our young people, teachers and supporting institutions that showed the success of taking part in this project that was the first from Turkiye,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.

The team that developed the Grizu-263A mini-satellite had won first prize in Turkiye’s largest technology and aviation festival Teknofest in 2019, Erdogan added.

On Thursday, the Grizu-263A was launched into space on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Established in 2016 by the engineering students from the Zonguldak Bulent Ecevit University in northern Turkiye, the Grizu-263 Space Team aims to work on space and satellite technologies and participate in international competitions.

The team was named after a firedamp explosion that killed 263 miners in the Kozlu district in 1992. The Turkish word for firedamp is grizu.

The satellite is designed to operate in a low-Earth orbit of roughly 525 kilometers (326 miles) for four years and eight months.

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