Villafranca Station


Villafranca Station (also known as VILSPA[1]) was an ESTRACK satellite ground station in Spain, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north from the city of Madrid in a Villanueva de la Cañada, within the area of European Space Astronomy Centre.[2]

Station currently operates 15m S-band antenna marked VIL-1 capable of automatic tracking, ranging, frequency and timing measurements, monitoring, control and two-way communications. Additional facilities provide tracking, telemetry, telecommand and radiometric measurements.[2]

In 2014 VIL-1 was upgraded to use SARAS (Spanish acronym for Fast Acquisition of Satellites and Launchers) system allowing easier estimation of the beam direction increasing tracking precision and accuracy.[3]

In 2012 first antenna of the Villafranca Station, build in 1974 and designated VIL-1, was passed to the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial and dedicated to the Cooperation through Education in Science and Astronomy Research (CESAR) project and currently is used as a radio telescope for educational purposes.[4]

In 2017 VIL-1 has been transferred to European industry [5]


  1. ^ David Darling. "Villafranca Satellite Tracking Station (VILSPA)". The Worlds of David Darling. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Villafranca station". ESA. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Catching signals from a speeding satellite". ESA. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Five telescopes for educational purposes". ESA. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Villafranca Station". ESA. 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2018.

External links

  • [1]
  • ESA gallery of the Villafranca station
  • SARAS video featuring images from upgraded Villafranca station, 2014

Coordinates: 40°26′33.23″N 3°57′5.70″W / 40.4425639°N 3.9515833°W / 40.4425639; -3.9515833