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N° 28–1996: Signature of ESA/DARA Agreement on Tenerife Optical Ground Station

3 July 1996

An agreement between the European Space Agency and the German space agency has just been signed by Mr Ren) Collette, the Director of ESA's Telecommunications programme, and Mr Jan Baldem Mennicken, the Director General of DARA. It concerns the provision of infrared observation instruments at the ground station at Izana (Tenerife, Spain), which was recently inaugurated in the presence of the King and Queen of Spain.

The ESA/DARA Agreement concerns the provision by Germany of a 1 metre Zeiss-Jena telescope, the dome of the building and associated equipment to be used for the testing, calibration and operation of optical communication payloads flown on ESA's Artemis satellite and for the observation of space debris.

The station is governed by an Agreement between ESA and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC). Apart from astronomical observation, its essential roles are receiving laser signals from data relay satellites and observing/tracking space debris, the latter work being carried out by the IAC, DARA and ESA's European Space Operations Centre (Darmstadt, Germany).