Maspalomas Satellite Earth Station on Gran Canary Island

Maspalomas Satellite Earth Station on Gran Canary Island

The Maspalomas Satellite Earth Station is operated by the National Institute of Aeronautic Technology (Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial – INTA) and serves as a communication hub for spacecraft. Nestled in the southern region of Gran Canaria Island, this station is situated within the INTA campus, perched atop Montaña Blanca hill. Its prominent location is easily discernible from the coastal resort of Meloneras, near Maspalomas. Originally established in the 1960s, its inception was to provide support to NASA’s emerging human spaceflight endeavors.

The Maspalomas Station boasts a sizable 15m (50ft) parabolic antenna, adept at receiving signals in the S- and X-bands and transmitting in the S-band. Moreover, the site is equipped with a range of facilities, encompassing satellite tracking, telemetry, telecommand, and radiometry capabilities.

Regularly, the station extends its support to missions conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) through the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. Notable missions include the Cluster satellite mission, MetOp-2, and the SMART-1 Moon mission.

Maspalomas Station has also played a pivotal role in facilitating international space endeavors. It has been involved in missions for the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), including the ETS-VII rendezvous mission. Additionally, it has contributed its resources to missions like South Korea’s Kompsat-2 and the International Satellite System for Search and Rescue, COSPAS-SARSAT.

Furthermore, the facility was commissioned to provide crucial support for China’s Chang’e 5 mission, which was launched on November 20th, 2020, with the ambitious goal of retrieving lunar rock samples.