The Primary Ground Station (PGS) supporting the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites is the Fucino Ground Station, located in Abruzzo about 100 km east of Rome.
This ground station is the main channel of communications between the Mission Control Centre (MCC) and the MSG satellites. The ground station is unmanned and can be remotely monitored and controlled from the MCC in Darmstadt.
The three main antennas are 13 m in diameter and receive the satellite downlink — raw image data stream, telemetry, and the Data Collection Services. Each antenna is capable of supporting all transmissions and data reception required for one spacecraft. Spacecraft telecommand is also uplinked.
Full monitoring and control of the antennas and associated subsytems are transmitted over a 50 Mb link between Fucino and the GEO Control Centre at EUMETSAT HQ.
The service is supplemented by an extra antenna located in Lario Ground station near Lake Como.
The separate Back-up and Ranging Ground Station (BRGS) is located in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, 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.