Neha Patil (Editor)

Broglio Space Centre

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Covid-19
Launch site  San Marco platform
Min / maxorbital inclination  2.0–3.0°
First launch  Scout B, 26 April 1967
Launch pad  2
Location  Malindi, Kenya
Status  Inactive
Operator  Italian Space Agency
Total launches  27
Broglio Space Centre Cooperazione scientifica
Last launch  Scout G-1, 25 March 1988
Similar  Svobodny Cosmodrome, Woomera Test Range, Resolute Bay, Tanegashima Space Center, Xichang Satellite Launch C

The Luigi Broglio Space Centre (BSC) is an Italian-owned spaceport near Malindi, Kenya, named after its founder and Italian space pioneer Luigi Broglio. Developed in the 1960s through a partnership between the University of Rome La Sapienza's Aerospace Research Centre and NASA, the BSC served as a spaceport for the launch of both Italian and international satellites (1967-1988). The centre comprises a main offshore launch site, known as the San Marco platform, as well as two secondary control platforms and a communications ground station on the mainland.

Broglio Space Centre httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

In 2003 a legislative decree handed the Italian Space Agency management of the centre, beginning in 2004, and the name changed from the previous San Marco Equatorial Range. While the ground station is still in use for satellite communications, the BSC is not currently used as a launch site.

Broglio Space Centre Luigi Broglioquot Space Center ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana

History

Broglio Space Centre Institutional visit to the quotLuigi Broglioquot Centre in Malindi

The San Marco platform was a former oil platform, located to the north of Cape Ras Ngomeni on the coastal sublittoral of Kenya, at 2°56′18″S 40°12′45″E, close to the equator (which is an energetically favourable location for rocket launches). Launches from the platform were controlled from the Santa Rita platform, a second former oil platform located southeast of the San Marco platform, and a smaller Santa Rita II housed the facility's radar. A ground station located on the cape forms the centre's primary telemetry site.

Broglio Space Centre Meteorology undergraduate Students visit the kenyan coast on field

The Italian space research program began in 1959 with the creation of the CRA (Centro Ricerche Aerospaziali) at the University of Rome. Three years later, on 7 September 1962, the university signed a memorandum of understanding with NASA to collaborate on a space research program named San Marco (St. Mark). The Italian launch team, trained by NASA, was to first launch a rocket from Wallops Island under NASA supervision and first launch successfully took off on 16 December 1964. The San Marco project was focused on the launching of scientific satellites by Scout rockets from a mobile rigid platform located close to the equator. This station, composed of 3 oil platforms and two logistical support boats, was installed off the Kenya coast, close to the town of Malindi.

The program schedule included three phases:

Broglio Space Centre Launch Sites San Marco Launch Platform Kenya
  • Suborbital launches from Wallops Island and the equatorial platform,
  • Orbital launch of an experimental satellite from Wallops Island,
  • Orbital launches from the equatorial platform.
  • The San Marco launch platform complex was in use from March 1964 to March 1988, with a total of 27 launches, primarily sounding rockets including the Nike Apache, Nike Tomahawk, Arcas and Black Brant launchers. Low payload weight orbital launches were also made, using the solid-propellant Scout rocket (in its B, D and G subvariants). The first satellite specifically for X-ray astronomy, Uhuru, was launched from San Marco on a Scout B rocket on 12 December 1970.

    The ground station is in use and continues to track NASA, ESA and Italian satellites. However, the two platforms fell into disrepair during the 1990s. Recently, the Italian Space Agency has conducted a feasibility study to reactivate it for the Russian launcher START-1.

    References

    Broglio Space Centre Wikipedia


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