Kourou is a town with 25,260 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2011) in the French overseas department of French Guiana, about 60 km north- west of the capital Cayenne on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the north of South America.


Kourou is a center of local tourism and is primarily known by the out-of- town spaceport Guiana Space Centre of ESA.


In Kourou no public transport exist. Trips to other cities are possible only with private cars or taxis.

To neighboring islands

For excursions to the nearby islands of Ile du Salut a few private boats are available at the port of Kourou available that hit the islands, according to the weather, every day.


The rocket launch site in Kourou was created in 1965. He should replace the rocket launch site Hammaguir, which was abandoning political reasons. From Kourou started from the late 1960s, French sounding rockets and the satellite carrier diamond. Even a failed attempt to start the Europe - 2 rocket took place here. On 24 December 1979, the first Ariane launched. Until mid-February 2003 launched Ariane 4 and 5 rockets, since then only Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou into space. Since 2011, the operating company Arianespace launches also Russian Soyuz rockets of the type and the small European launcher Vega from Kourou. On 21 October 2011, the first two Galileo satellites have been sent into space here. Kourou was chosen mainly because of its location close to the equator, since the highest peripheral speed of the earth favors the achievement of an orbit.


In the near Kourou is the Devil's Island, which was known in former times by the local French colony prisoners and especially by the novel "Papillon". In addition, there were serving Alfred Dreyfus and the last German prisoners of war of World War I, Alfons Paoli Schwartz, their detention.