The name of RAEGE stands for “Red Atlántica de Estaciones Geodinámicas y Espaciales” in Spanish, and “Rede Atlântica de Estações Geodinâmicas e Espaciais” in Portuguese.
RAEGE commenced in 2011 with a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Azores and the Government of Spain to set up a Very Long Baseline Interferometry VLBI observing network to meet the international requirements needed for VGOS , the VLBI Global Observing System.
Nowadays, the project aims at constructing, installing, and operating four Geodetic Core Sites, two in Spain (in Yebes and Gran Canaria) and two in Azores (in Flores and Santa Maria islands), as well as two Base Centres for the coordination of activities (in Yebes and São Miguel).
Each RAEGE Core Site is equipped with one radio telescope of VGOS specifications (i.e., 13.2 m diameter, high slew rate, capable of operating in the 2-14 GHz up to 90 GHz), one permanent GNSS station, one gravimeter, one maser clock, and a seismograph/accelerograph. Yebes Observatory will also count with an SLR (Satellite Laser Ranging) facility.
All these instruments provide the geodetic infrastructure necessary for monitoring the Earth system and global change research, allowing to quantify the changes in space and time of our planet. Observations will allow to map and monitor changes in the Earth’s shape, rotation, and mass distribution, providing the global geodetic reference frame for measuring and interpreting global change processes as climate change, sea level estimations, etc.
The RAEGE Core Sites are located on three different tectonic plates: the Eurasian plate (Yebes Observatory, Spain), the North American tectonic plate (Flores, Azores), and the African tectonic plate (Santa Maria, Azores, and Gran Canaria, Canary Islands).
RAEGE contributes to GGOS , the Global Geodetic Observing System of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), which defines the requirements needed to set up a global geodetic infrastructure. The main aim of GGOS is the upgrading, expansion, and maintenance of a global network of Geodetic Core Sites that provide observations that will allow better understanding of the dynamics of the Earth environment and conditions of global change in order to make decisions of long-range societal benefit.
The strategic objectives for RAEGE are:
- The full integration of RAEGE radiotelescopes in VGOS network.
- The constitution of four GGOS core stations
- The strength, integration and increase of activities in partnership with other scientific entities such as universities, science centres, collaborative laboratories and/or science networks.
- The use of the Atlantic International Research Centre, Air Center, to put RAEGE on the infrastructure for its dissemination.
- The creation of the “Space Week” in Santa Maria together with the Regional Directorate of Science and Technology of Azores, the Vila do Porto Secondary School, SATA and other interested entities.
- The mobilization of research institutions comprising elements belonging to the CACT of RAEGE and the CC of the RAEGE Açores Association for the development of scientific projects and dissemination of the work developed on the websites of RAEGE.
- The participation in national and international meetings and congresses to increase the visibility of RAEGE at global scale.