Our History

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BIRTH AND RAPID DEVELOPMENT

On 18 October 1961, Carlo Enrico Martinato, Chairman of Italcable, and Marcello Rodinò di Miglione, CEO of RAI television broadcastins, signed the deed of incorporation of Telespazio, a company with ambitions to take part in satellite telecommunications experiments. Led by Piero Fanti, Telespazio engineers and technicians at Fucino embarked on an extraordinary adventure that helped open the doors of Space to Italy.

1961
Italcable and RAI create Telespazio

Telespazio is born - On October 18, under the auspices of the CNR (National Research Council) and the Post and Telecommunications Ministry, Italcable and Rai create Telespazio.

1962
The agreement with Nasa and the exclusive right for satellite communications

Telespazio and NASA sign a memorandum of understanding for testing the Telstar and Relay satellites. In the same year Telespazio and the Post and Telecommunications Ministry sign an Agreement for the exclusive concession to the company of the equipment and operation of experimental telecommunications systems based on artificial satellites.

1963
First Telstar signals at Fucino

Fucino testing station (L’Aquila) receives the first signals from the Telstar satellite and, few months later, the first picture. In the same year, STET (Società Torinese per l'Esercizio Telefonico), becomes a shareholder of Telespazio along with Italcable and RAI.

1964
The First Olympics via satellite

For the first time television broadcasts from Fucino, via the Telstar satellite. In October Telespazio receives the first live TV experimental transmission from the Tokyo Olympics at the Fucino Space Center, via NASA’s SYNCOM 3 satellite.

1965
The beginning of commercial communications via satellite between North America and Europe

Telespazio signs its first agreement with Intelsat. In June, commercial telecommunications between North America and Europe begin.

1967
Aldo Moro inaugurates Fucino Space Center

On September 28, Prime Minister Aldo Moro officially inaugurates Fucino Space Center, in Abruzzo. A month before, first large 30-metre antenna, able to cover the Atlantic region, had come into service at Fucino.

1968
First telemetry and remote control at Fucino

Intelsat and Telespazio sign an agreement for the first telemetry and remote control services on Intelsat satellites.

1969
Moon landing live on tv

On July 20, Europe can see moon landing iconic images, also thanks to the Fucino antennas. Actually, Fucino center is one of the very few in Europe – just four - capable of receiving satellite TV signals from all over the world.

On July 29,  thanks to an 8-metre diameter antenna, shipped by sea to Kampala, Telespazio broadcasts the historic Pope Paul VI’s visit to Uganda.

INDUSTRIAL GROWTH

For Telespazio, the 1970s represented a period of expansion and diversification of its activities, adding Earth observation to telecommunications and the in-orbit control of satellites. A second space centre opened in Gera Lario (Como) and Telespazio was involved in the development of the Sirio programme, the first Italian telecommunications satellite launched in 1977.

1970
Fucino second large antenna

On July 8 second large antenna, able to cover Indian Ocean region, comes into service at Fucino Space Center.

1974
SIRIO programme

In October, CNR (Research National Center) and Telespazio sign an agreement for the management of SIRIO, the Italian experimental satellite program.

1975
The beginning of Earth Observation activities

Fucino Space Center receives the first remote sensing images from LANDSAT satellite for Earth Observation, according to the memorandum of understanding with NASA signed in May 1974.

1977
A new Space Center in Lombardia

 A new Space Center in Lombardia - After the Fucino one, Telespazio inaugurates another important Space Center. On March 10, Gera Lario Space Center, in the province of Como, comes into service.

1978
The INTELSAT TCC room at Fucino

Fucino Space Center inaugurates Telemetry, Command and Control room for INTELSAT satellites.

SPACE FOR SECURITY, EMERGENCY AND ENVIRONMENT

Telespazio confirmed its place as a major player in the satellite communications sector. The company was involved in the development of important national programmes such as Italsat. Work started on the creation of the first satellite network for emergency telecommunications (Argo) and two new space centres were inaugurated in Scanzano (Palermo) and Matera. It was also in these years that the Italian Space Agency came into being.

1980
The Italsat agreement with CNR 

Telespazio and CNR (Research National Center) sign agreement for preliminary studies on the Italian satellite Italsat.

1983
A Geodesy Space Center in Matera

Telespazio, under the auspices of CNR and subsequently, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), establishes the Matera Space Center for Geodesy Operations. Telespazio will manage the Center. After two years, in the 1985 Telespazio inaugurates the new center.

1985
Pope John Paul II at the Fucino Center

On march 24, Pope John Paul II visits the Fucino Space Center and sends a message of peace to workers all around the world.

1987
A new Space Center in Sicily

Between 1986 and 1987 Telespazio finalizes its third Space Center.  In 1987 Telespazio inaugurates Space Center for satellites communications in Scanzano, in the province of Palermo.

SATELLITES BROADCAST DIRECTLY INTO OUR HOMES

The early 1990s were marked by the launch of the next generation of Italian Italsat telecommunication satellites. These were also the years of satellite television and the strengthening of Telespazio's technological capabilities for the in-orbit operation of satellites with the new scientific satellite Sax. Earth observation also entered a new phase, with the use of radar sensor on board the first ERS satellites. From its station in Matera, which became operational in 1994, Telespazio prepared for the challenges of the new millennium, facing the changes and restructuring that became necessary for the telecommunications industry.

1991
Italsat F1 launch and the Argo project

 On January 16, Italsat F1 satellite is launched. Telespazio is responsible for in-orbit control. On May 30, Telespazio launches the ARGO project, designed for Italian civil protection. ARGO is the first closed network equipped with small fixed antennas for emergency communications

1994
Earth Observation arrives in Matera

Telespazio Space Center for Earth Observation becomes operational in Matera. Telespazio Argentina is founded in Buenos Aires.

1996
Beppo Sax in orbit

On April 30, Telespazio-operated Beppo Sax Italian scientific satellite is launched.

1997
Telespazio in Brazil

Telespazio founds in Rio de Janeiro its second subsidiary, Telespazio Brasil.

1998
Telespazio arrives in Romania

In partnership with local partner Radiocom, Telespazio establishes the Rartel Company in Bucharest, as majority shareholder.

1999
The contribution to Galileo programme

Telespazio takes part in the definition phase of GALILEO, Europe's satellite navigation program

SATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS TO IMPROVE OUR LIFE ON EARTH

In 2002, Telespazio became part of the Finmeccanica Group: this marked the start of a new and important phase in the development of a company that had become one of the world’s leading providers of satellite services. In 2007, Telespazio became a joint venture between Finmeccanica (67%) and Thales (33%). During these years, the company would contribute to the development of the most significant national and international space programmes, including Galileo, EGNOS, COSMO-SkyMed, SICRAL and GMES.

2001
SICRAL 1 launch

On February 7 is launched SICRAL 1, the Italian System for Secure Communications and alerts, Italy’s first military communications satellite system. Telespazio manages the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) and the first year of satellite operations. Then it transfers all functions to the Defense Ministry’s Vigna di Valle Control Center, in Rome.

2002
The transition to Finmeccanica

In December Telespazio joins the Finmeccanica Group, subsequently Leonardo.

2003
GAF AG acquisition

On July 25 Telespazio acquires control of the German company GAF AG, that specializes in Earth observation satellite services

2005
Telespazio acquires the MARS center

Telespazio acquires the MARS Center in Naples, a company that conducts scientific experiments on board the International Space Station on behalf of the world's major space agencies. In 2009, the Mars Center merges into Telespazio.

2007
The birth of the Space Alliance and the COSMO SkyMed launch

In April, is founded the Space Alliance between Thales and Finmeccanica: Telespazio becomes a joint venture between Finmeccanica (67%) and Thales (33%). On June 7 is launched the first of the four COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites, Italy’s dual-use Earth observation system. Telespazio builds the ground segment and manages satellite’s launch into orbit.

2008
Galileo programme’s Giove-B is launched

On April 27 is launched GIOVE-B, the second experimental satellite of the Galileo constellation. Telespazio’s Fucino Space Center manages LEOP operations and satellite control.

2009
SICRAL 1B launch

On April 20, SICRAL 1B is launched. It is the Italian Defense Ministry’s second secure communications satellite. Telespazio builds the system’s ground segment and is responsible for the launch services, positioning and in-orbit testing of the satellite. The company contributes to the program's direct costs and sells part of SICRAL 1B’s transmission capacity.

FROM THE STUDY OF EARTH TO EXPLORATION OF THE GALAXY

November 2010 saw the launch of the fourth satellite in the COSMO-SkyMed constellation, whose innovative services in the field of Earth observation have extended its commercial application to a wide range of civilian uses, in addition to the military ones. In 2014, the first "Sentinel" in the ESA's Copernicus programme was launched. Science is once again becoming part of day-to-day life in the Fucino, with the Agile programme, which studies cosmic sources of gamma radiation. Through its companies, Telespazio is also involved in the main programmes for exploration of the universe, such as Rosetta and Gaia.

2010
The Spaceopal wins the Galileo contract and the GCC debuts at Fucino

Spaceopal -  a 50/50 joint venture between Telespazio and the German Space Agency company DLR GfR - signs a contract with the European Space Agency on Operations that will bring Europe's satellite navigation system Galileo to full operational capacity. A second contract will be won in 2016. On December 20, the Galileo Control Center (GCC-I), a 5,000-m2 infrastructure for the management of Europe's satellite navigation system and signal, is inaugurated at the Fucino Space Center.

2011
Telespazio 50th Anniversary

Telespazio is 50 years old and celebrates with an Exhibit at Ara Pacis Museum in Rome. In the same year, Telespazio acquires the space activities of the UK-based VEGA, renamed Telespazio VEGA UK.

2012
The expansion in France and Germany

The French companies Fileas SAS and Vega Technologies SAS merge into Telespazio France.  In addition, VEGA Space GmbH and Telespazio Deutschland GmbH merge into the new Telespazio VEGA Deutschland GmbH.

2014
ATHENA FIDUS e Sentinel-1A launches

On February 6, ATHENA FIDUS is launched. It is the French-Italian, dual-use, broadband telecommunications satellite. Telespazio manages the ATHENA FIDUS launch services, LEOP and the IOT phase. It also takes part in the implementation of the ground segment. On April 3 Sentinel-1A takes off: it is the first environmental "sentinel" of the EU Copernicus program in which Telespazio is an industrial partner.

2015
e-GEOS wins the European tender for emergency management

In February, e-GEOS (Telespazio 80%, ASI 20%) wins a European Commission tender to provide satellite maps for emergency management.

2016
GÖKTÜRK-1 launch

On December 5, GÖKTÜRK-1, the Turkish Earth observation satellite, is launched. Telespazio builds the program with Thales Alenia Space.  

2017
Optsat 3000 launch and the BlackSky Agreement

On August 1, OPTSAT-3000, the Italian MoD Earth Observation satellite, is launched. Telespazio, as prime contractor, supplies the whole system. In September, the Space Alliance - formed by Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space - signs an agreement with the US Spaceflight Industries for the implementation of the Earth Observation’s BlackSky constellation.

2018
A Stake in NorthStar

On November 15, Space Alliance – formed by Telespazio e Thales Alenia Space – acquires a stake in Northstar Earth and Space, a Canadian company that will launch the most advanced satellite system to monitor Earth and near space.

2019
PRISMA launch

On march 23 the Italian Space Agency’s PRISMA satellite is launched. The satellite is equipped with innovative electro-optical instrumentation. Telespazio has released the Ground Segment - which includes the mission control centre in Fucino and the data acquisition and processing centre in Matera – and managed the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) as well as in-orbit test activities.