One of the three Spanish centers that supported the famous Apollo program

Spain: huge abandoned satellite dishes that participated in a NASA program

Being a country with a very long history, in Spain you can find abandoned places of all kinds, including some linked to the space race.

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This is the case of the old Buitrago del Lozoya Satellite Communications Center, in the Community of Madrid, facilities belonging to the Telefónica company and which were inaugurated in 1970. This center had four large 30-meter height satellite dishes, and as the name of the center indicates, they were aimed at satellite communications.

As the Naukas website explained in 2017, these antennas were part of NASA's MSFN (Manned Space Flight Network), a program for monitoring communications and telemetry of the manned missions of the United States space agency. It was not the only Spanish center linked to this program: it was also the one in Fresnedillas de la Oliva (currently owned by the Ministry of Defence) and the one in Robledo de Chavela, where today, the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex of NASA is still located. One of the NASA programs that these three centers supported was the famous Apollo program, which culminated in the arrival of man on the Moon.

In 2003, Telefónica deactivated the Buitrago de Lozoya communications center, transferring its functions to the CCS of Armuña de Tajuña, in Guadalajara. Much of the equipment was moved to the new center, but the four large antennas are still there, looking up at the sky. The YouTube channel Okos recently posted an interesting video exploring these facilities, now abandoned (the video is in Spanish, you can activate the subtitles in English in the bottom bar of the player):

You can see here some screenshots as a preview. The video is very well edited and has amazing images, I found it very good.

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