Space Geodesy Center


The Centre for Space Geodesy (CGS) is dedicated to Professor Giuseppe ("Bepi") Colombo and is located in the municipal district of Matera about 10 kilometres east of the town, on the western boundary with the 'Murge'. Opened in 1983 thanks to the joined effort of CNR's National Space Plan, Regione Basilicata and NASA, the CGS is a structure 5000 m2 large where about 100 people work up today. Its budget is about 10 millions per year. Mainly devoted to earth observation through advanced space techniques (space geodesy and remote sensing), the CGS has recently been dealing with other fields, in particular space robot technology and interplanetary missions. It is one of the most important research structures in southern Italy.

Since 1983 Telespazio is responsible for the operational management of CGS and about 60 people work at full time assuring the production of images as well as the efficiency of the observing stations. The engineering support for the upkeep as well as for the calibration of equipments, quality control, data development and filing are also guaranteed. An industrial consortium named TELAER is located within the centre while other companies such as Tecnomare and Geocart are currently entering some conventions with ASI so as to open their own secondary offices within the Centre. Space Geodesy was the first programme of the Base.

The presence of different observing methodologies (geodetic satellite laser telemetry or SLR, radio-interferometer on a very long basis or VLBI, GPS positioning, PRARE orbital tracing) makes CGS one of the few main world network stations playing a crucial importance for the comprehension not only of the Mediterranean basin tectonics but also of many geophysics and geodynamics parameters, as well as for the materialization of the international Terrestrial Reference Frame.

ASI's Space Robotics programme makes use of CGS so as to carry out activities of simulation as well as robot appliances earth testing, also used for interplanetary missions. A laboratory has been created in order to carry out these activities. CGS carries out technological and scientific projects but its most important activity is the operational one, that is: data acquisition, quality control, filing, distribution and technical-scientific data analysis and, finally, management of equipments.