The Matera Space Centre was created as part of the national and international network of centres and teleports operated by Telespazio, and has been operational since 1994.
It is located next to the Space Geodesy Centre of the Italian space agency ASI, opened in 1983.
The Matera Space centre, managed by e-GEOS since 2009, is dedicated to Earth observation activities and also provides operational servicesfor the Space Geodesy Centre.
The Matera Space Centre acquires, processes, stores and distributes remotely-sensed data from the main Earth observation satellites, and also produces images, products and services in near real-time for maritime surveillance.
In particular, the Centre contributed to the design, integration and testing of the civil ground segment data of the Italian radar satellite constellation COSMO-SkyMed, for which it has provided operational and maintenance services since the launch of the first satellite in 2007.
Since 2012, the Matera Space Centre has been one of the three stations of the Core Ground Segment of ESA for the reception and processing in near realtime of radar and optical data acquired by Sentinel satellites within Copernicus, the European Earth observation programme.
For the ESA, it acquires, processes, stores and distributes data for various satellite missions, including ERS-1, ERS-2, ENVISAT, ALOS, MODIS, JERS, Landsat-5, Landsat-7 and MOS-1. Since January 2014, it has also provided data services for the Landsat-8 observation mission.
For the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), it acquires and processes Radarsat and COSMO-SkyMed data, and provides maritime surveillance services. The information sent to EMSA, within 30 minutes of the satellite passing, enables oil pollution in the sea to be monitored and ships conducting illegal activities to be identified. e-GEOS is head of the service for the entire Mediterranean Basin and the Black Sea.
Finally, in relation to e-GEOS contracts with national and international public and private end users, the Matera Space Centre conducts value-added data processing activities, including orthocorrection, image mosaicing and extracting digital elevation and terrain models. These activities are conducted using optical and radar data collected by both aircraft and satellites.
On behalf of ASI are conducted geodesy activities that include: the operations of the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), a radio telescope used for geodetic measurements through the observation of remote sources such as Quasars; the operations of the Matera Laser Ranging Observatory (MLRO), used to determine the exact orbits of artificial satellites and make high-precision geodetic measurements; the operations of the Italian GPS Fiducial Network (IGFN), a network of permanent GPS stations created in 1995 to improve GPS data usability over the national territory.
The optical telescope installed at the Geodesy Centre is also used to study the Earth’s gravity and observe movements of tectonic plates.