The MUGS is designed to receive, process and distribute data streams from the EDRS space segments. EDRS serves the EU’s Earth Observation Programme Copernicus, which supports urban area management, nature protection, agriculture, health, and civil protection.
EDRS is an optical satellite communications system that enables near-realtime data relay from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to Europe via the geostationary EDRS-A and -C satellites. It is developed under a public–private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus, through ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme.
The tender for the construction of the MUGS was awarded to e-GEOS by ESA, under ARTES. The project will be managed by ESA and led by e-GEOS as the prime contractor, in close collaboration with SES, who has been selected to design, deliver and test the ground station, and Airbus to build data collection and storage units.
MUGS will be installed and integrated at the Italian Space Agency (ASI) Geodesy Centre – G. Colombo – at Matera, Italy. It is forecast to become operational during the second half of 2019 and once completed, the ownership and operation of the station will be transferred from ESA to ASI.
“The Matera User Ground Station will provide EDRS near-realtime data relay service from LEO satellites, allowing ASI to implement applications for the monitoring of our Planet enabled by the Sentinels of the Copernicus programme.” – stated Bruno Versini, Chief Operation Officer of e-GEOS. “This is an important result, achieved by joining our skills in operating in the ground segment and leadership in the technological integration with the engineering expertise of our partners.”
“We are delighted to once again be chosen to be a technology partner in such a prominent project. Through our collaboration with the global leader in Geospatial Services and application provider e-GEOS we will continue contributing to improved Earth observation data collection systems across Europe,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks.
e-GEOS is a leader in Geo-spatial Information business and has over two decades of experience of providing solutions for Matera Space Centre, particularly in the management of Sentinel satellites for Copernicus project. The MUGS will be an EDRS ground station, being able to process and deliver data streams from Copernicus satellites, like Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2, which are relayed to the ground station by the EDRS space segment. It will operate as a collaborative station and will be equipped with a Ka-band receive-only antenna.