Telespazio SpA was founded in October 18th, 1961 from the collaboration between several companies such as Rai, Italcable and ASST (State Company for Telephone Services), under the auspices of the National Council of Research (CNR), the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and thanks to a group of young engineers and technicians led by engineer Piero Fanti.

The first years in Telespazio were full of important events: the famouspact of understanding signed with NASA in January 11th, 1962, to partcipate in Telstar and Relay satellites experimental activities; an agreement with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications that established the exclusive concession to Telespazio for the installation and operation of experimental systems for telecommunications, using artificial satellites. As a place of its
activities, Telespazio chose Fucino basin, L’Aquila, Italy. The reason of this choise is for the particular structure of this zone; in fact thisplace is protected by mountains and, therefore, is covered from strong winds and electromagnetic interference. It allowed together with the other stations, scattered in Europe, to make the first reception and the first intercontinental
television broadcasts with the Telstar satellite. Dealing with this, the famousfirst link that occurred on July 23rd, 1962 with the remote transmission of photographic images of the American continent and Europe (Italy-Paris-Brussels-USA). Another important event was the worldwide collaboration with NASA for landing on the moon on July 21st, 1969.

The Fucino station was mounted on three trailers of articulated vehicles and it allowed to change the location where the chosen area was not proved from the electromagnetic point of view. Exactly on 1st February 1963 it was built the space center as we know it today and dedicated to his pioneer Eng. Piero Fanti. Nowdays, a small museum inside the site reserves three trailers that were used long time ago and the stern of the ship Elettra
used by Guglielmo Marconi for his experiments in radio during the two world wars.

Currently, Telespazio is a joint venture between Finmeccanica, majority shareholder at 67 % and Thales Group, shareholder to 33%, based in Rome and with about 2,500 employees. During our visit on March 24th, we learnt how commitment and professionalism in all areas covered by Telespazio is crucial since it is one of the leading global operators in satellite services. Moreover, it was explained how a satellite is launched and guided on its orbit
and all EOL processes, with an amazing anecdote about a woman that came to see a satellite as a son. It was really interestingto discover how Telespazio is a player in every area of the satellite service and in some holding senior roles.

Nowdays, Telespazio programs and collaboration cover a huge engineering scenario: satellite systems operations & applications, flight dynamics control, release from the carrier to capture orbit (Telespazio takes care of the aspects related to the launch, and then move the satellite control to its owner), Earth observation, data processing, Space Geodesy operations, networks and connectivity.All these aspects are currently managed at which covers an area of 370000 square meters with more than 100 operational antennas, 3 GEO and 1 LEO satellites.

Dutifully we still highlight the hospitality granted in making us feel part of their extraordinary work, with a wish for our future and for becoming part of Telespazio family very soon. Major thanks to EUROAVIA Napoli for allowing us to visit one of the most important space centers of the world.

CastreseDi Guida, AS Napoli EM

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