Since the 60's "Luigi Broglio" Space Centre of Malindi, Kenya, has been managed by the University of Rome "La Sapienza" through the San Marco Project Research Centre (CRSPM). Because of its equatorial location on the Indian Ocean's coast, it is the ideal place for activities of launch and satellite control from earth. The centre is made of two segments, the marine segment represented by
the launch oceanic platform and the earth segment represented by the data receipt centre.
The Centre (Longitude: 40,19 degrees E, Latitude: 2,99 degrees S) is extended over an area about 3,5 hectares large on the coast of the Indian Ocean 32 kilometres far from Malindi and may be reached through the littoral zone of Kenya. While the soil is a property of the Republic of Kenya, the management was entrusted to CRPSM until December 31st, 2003 and to ASI starting from January 1st, 2004 in accordance with the intergovernmental agreements between Italy and Kenya currently in force. The presence of the Centre within the territory of Kenya, which goes back to 1966, is today ruled by an intergovernmental fifteen-years renewable agreement signed in 1995. This agreement involves the possibility to carry out launch activities, data acquisition from satellites, remote sensing and training activities both in Kenya and in Italy. Italy defines the programmes, supplies the necessary equipments, trains and takes on local employees. Kenya grants the soil under the payment of a rent by Italy, trains and takes on local workers. The local government must be informed about programmes making use of the Centre and asks, for commercial programmes, a royalty depending on the terms of the commercial agreement. After 15 years equipments become a property of Kenya.
The last launch - Scout vector embarking the San Marco D/L satellite - was carried out on March 25th, 1988. Since then platforms are not used and are generally submitted to the ordinary upkeep.
The Earth Segment involves many buildings made of masonry and wood used as accommodations and services, a small seaport for docking the ships serving as a link with the platforms as well as 3 Earth Stations (antenna systems) for the in-orbit control as well as the telemetry receipt from satellites and vectors. The 3 stations are the following:
- S-Band station, equipped with a 10 meters long parabola used for the agency programs
- S/X/L Band station, equipped with a 10 meters long parabola used for the control of launch vehicles (Arianespace, Titan) and to give support to the first phases of commercial satellites flight (LEOP);
- Band-X station equipped with a 6 meters long parabola used to receive remote sensing data (ERS2, Spot, Landsat).
The Centre is linked to Italy through Intelsat in the context of ASI-net network of Agenzia Spaziale Italiana.