The Centro di Geodesia Spaziale “G. Colombo” (CGS), of the Italian Space Agency, is located in Matera and is mainly operated by Telespazio S.p.A. The Center is one of the sites constituting the worldwide geodetic networks and plays an important role because different geodetic techniques are collocated: SLR (next future also LLR), VLBI, GPS e PRARE.
The integration of different techniques gives the possibility to estimate its position and motion with high precision, essential for the definition of the reference frame, thus the CGS is one of the fundamental station.
The CGS was opened in 1983 with the installation of the SLR system, a laser equipment built at the beginning of seventies. From that year, the activities linked to space geodesy continuously grew and the interests of the Center expanded to areas different from space geodesy: from remote sensing to robotics. Major steps in the space geodesy growth at the CGS can be identified in the following: in 1990 the VLBI antenna become operational, in 1991 the GPS receivers are placed permanently, subsequently the Italian GPS Fiducial Network is established under the control of the Center, in 2000 the Matera Laser ranging Observatory (MLRO) substitutes the old laser system giving to the Center a primary role in the worldwide network.