The Primary Ground Station (PGS) supporting the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites is in Usingen, Germany, about 30 km north of Frankfurt.
This ground station is the main channel of communications between the Mission Control Centre (MCC) and the MSG satellites. The ground station at Usingen is unmanned and can be remotely monitored and controlled from the MCC in Darmstadt.
The prime transmission channel between the MCC and the PGS is a 34 Mbit microwave link with a terrestrial-based back-up link.
These links support all traffic to and from the PGS, including image data, TT&C (Telemetry, Tracking and Command), and disseminated data.
To reliably accomplish these vital tasks a considerable amount of redundancy is incorporated in the station design, which, to a great extent, can function completely automatically.
Three fully steerable 13-metre diameter parabolic antennas are located at the PGS and used exclusively to support all communications with the MSG satellites.
Each antenna is capable of supporting all transmissions and data reception required for one spacecraft and is used for telemetry and telecommands; raw image reception; Data Collection System (DCS) report collection, and LRIT Direct Dissemination.
The separate Back-up and Ranging Ground Station (BRGS) is located in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria Island, Spain. This location is sufficiently separated from the PGS to allow accurate ranging measurements to be made to determine the precise location and orbit of the MSG satellites.
The BRGS is also dedicated to provide telecommanding and telemetry support to the ground network for the operations of the satellites, in case of a complete system failure at the PGS.
The separate Back-Up Ground Station in Cheia, Romania, can also be used in emergencies, for satellite control purposes.