Guiana Space Centre

5.2216666666667 - 52.753888888889Koordinaten: 5 ° 13 ' 18 "N, 52 ° 45' 14 " W

The Guiana Space Centre (French Guiana Space Centre, CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana is a spaceport from which to boot since 1979, the Ariane rocket of the European space transportation company, Arianespace. There are also launch facilities for Soyuz and Vega rockets. Landlord of the premises is the French national space agency CNES.


The CSG is one of the most convenient starting places in the world. It is only 500 km away from the equator (5 ° 13 ' north latitude ); by the earth's rotation from there a starting rocket gives a contribution rate of 460 m / s (horizontal to the east ). In addition, it is easier for a near-equatorial launch to bring geostationary satellites into geostationary transfer orbit to reach the geostationary orbit. Another advantage of the location is that the starting direction ( the geostationary transfer orbit and the sun-synchronous orbit ) leads to the achievement of the main destinations served by the carrier rocket orbits to the sea and so during rocket launch no people at risk.

In addition, there is no risk of earthquakes or tropical cyclones.


Double Space Center 1964-1975

The space center was built in 1964 by France. Launched in the same year there the first missile, a sounding rocket of the type Véronique. the first launcher, its from the CSG launched was the diamond. From CSG started from 10.03.1970 until 27.09.1975 Five Diamond -B and three diamond - BP4. On November 5, 1971, the start of a single Europe - 2 rocket was held here by 'built for this type of launch pad ELE ( l' Ensemble de Lancement Europe).

Establishment of the ESA, launch pad ELA -1

As a result of the establishment of the ESA in 1975, it was also for their activities. To be prepared for the common European rocket Ariane type, was 1975-1978 a reconstruction of the launch pad ELA, which was fully funded by the ESA. After the conversion, said the launch pad was held on 24 December 1979, the first launch of an Ariane 1 of the now ELA -1 ( l' Ensemble de Lancement Ariane ) instead. The launch pad ELA - 1 could be 2 and 3 used for these because of the great similarity between Ariane 1 and Ariane their successor models. After the recent launch of an Ariane 3 on 11 July 1989, the launch pad ELA -1 was shut down.

1988/89: ELA -2 and 3

For the Ariane 4, the new launch pad ELA -2 was built, the first copy on July 15, 1988 started from her. The first launch of ELA -2 was, however, already on 26 March 1986, an Ariane 3 After the last launch of an Ariane 4 on 15 February 2003, the launch pad ELA -2 was shut down. For the newly developed Ariane 5 is a completely new start ramp had to be built, it was named ELA - third The first Ariane 5 launched by it on June 4, 1996.

2004: launch ramps ELS, ELV

In early 2004, started for the Russian Soyuz rocket with the construction of the launch pad ELS ( l' Ensemble de Lancement Soyuz ). The first launch was scheduled for the summer of 2011, but was postponed to October 2011. For this purpose, a Russian- European agreement was concluded, which allows the European space agencies to use Soyuz rockets for their purposes. The corresponding Russian organizations may perform takeoffs from Kourou as an alternative to its own spaceport in Baikonur (Kazakhstan ) in return. From the CSG, the Soyuz can carry into space because of the shorter distance to the equator heavier payloads. For ESA, the collaboration provides the opportunity to offer commercial customers a lower-cost alternative to the Ariane 5 rocket for medium payloads; during the transport of about ten tons by the Ariane cost around 150 million euros, the Soyuz rocket transported about three tons to about half the price in the geostationary orbit. The first launch took place on 21 October 2011 and transported the first two satellites of the European satellite navigation system Galileo into orbit.

The end of 2004 began with the conversion of the launch pad ELA -1 in order to start this now ELV ( l' Ensemble de Lancement Vega ) launch pad called from the newly developed for smaller payloads 300-2500 kg European launcher Vega can. The first launch took place as a qualification flight on 13 February 2012, and transported nine satellites, including seven Pikosatelliten European universities, into orbit.

Start operation

Starts can be booked at the start provider Arianespace by non - European companies and space agencies, in which this takes after the introduction of an ESA rocket from the ESA and the other starts performing. These buys Arianespace rocket or parts thereof that the manufacturers selected by ESA in. In addition, the ESA pays two-thirds of the annual operating costs of the Guiana Space Centre.


The infrastructure of the space station consists of buildings for start preparation of rockets and satellites, launch pads, the launch control center and a factory for rocket fuel. There are three launch pads: the now disused launch pads ELA -1 for the Ariane 1 Ariane 2 and 3 and ELA -2 for the Ariane 4 currently (2012 ) active launch pads are ELA -3 for the Ariane 5, ELS for Soyuz rockets and ELV for Vega rockets.

Fire protection is supported by a department of the fire brigade of Paris ( Brigade de sapeurs - pompiers de Paris, part of the French army) ensured during the National Gendarmerie and the French Foreign Legion are responsible for the protection of the site.

Launch pads

  • ELA -1 ( Ariane 1 Ariane 2 Ariane 3)
  • ELA -2 ( Ariane 4)
  • ELA -3 ( Ariane 5)
  • ELV ( Vega )
  • ELS ( Soyuz )