The Guiana Space Centre (French: Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) ) is a French and European spaceport to the northwest of Kourou in French Guiana, France. Operational since 1968, it is particularly suitable as a location for a spaceport. It fulfills the two major geographical requirements of such a site:
The European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency CNES (National Centre for Space Studies), and the commercial companies Arianespace and Azercosmos conduct launches from Kourou. This was the spaceport used by the ESA to send supplies to the International Space Station using the Automated Transfer Vehicle.
The location was selected in 1964 to become the spaceport of France. In 1975, France offered to share Kourou with ESA. Commercial launches are bought also by non-European companies. ESA pays two thirds of the spaceport's annual budget and has also financed the upgrades made during the development of the Ariane launchers.
|Centre Spatial Guyanais|
Sign at the entrance to the Guiana Space Centre
|Formed||14 April 1964|
|Jurisdiction||Government of France|
|Headquarters||Kourou, French Guiana, France|
|Employees||1,525 direct (2011)|
7,500 indirect (2011)
Map of Guiana Space Centre
Kourou is located approximately 500 kilometres (310 mi) north of the equator, at a latitude of 5°. It is a common misconception that the main advantage of launching a rocket from the equator is the extra boost provided by the speed of the Earth's rotation. For example, the eastward boost provided by the Earth's rotation is about 463 m/s (1,035 miles per hour) at the Guiana Space Centre, as compared to about 406 m/s (908 miles per hour) at the United States east coast Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center spaceports which are at 28°27′N latitude in Florida. This means that rockets need around 60 m/s more delta-v to reach Low Earth Orbit (LEO) from Cape Canaveral, which is an insignificant disadvantage.
In reality, the main benefit of Kourou is that the near-equatorial launch location provides an advantage for launches to low-inclination (or geostationary) Earth orbits compared to launches from spaceports at higher latitude. This is because rockets can be launched into orbits with an inclination of as low as ~6°. The lowest inclination a rocket from Cape Canaveral could be launched to is 28.5° (the latitude of Cape Canaveral). Inclination change burns already require significant amounts of delta-v, so needing to change inclination by 28.5° seriously affects a rocket's capability to send satellites into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). As a result of these phenomena, similarly sized Proton and Ariane 5 rockets can send similar payloads to LEO. However, the Proton, launched from high latitudes in Russia, can only send 6,270 kg to GTO while a Kourou-launched Ariane 5 can send more than 10,000 kg to GTO.
Originally built in the 1960s under the name of Base Équatoriale du CECLES (French: Conférence Européenne de Construction de Lanceurs et d'Engins Spatiaux, English: European conference on construction of launchers and spacecraft), the pad located at was designed for the Europa-II rocket. One Europa-II was launched from the site, before the programme was cancelled.
The pad was demolished, and subsequently rebuilt as the first launch complex for Ariane rockets. Renamed ELA (later redesignated ELA-1), it was used for Ariane 1 and Ariane 2 and 3 launches until being retired in 1989.
ESA has built ELS (French: l'Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz) at for launching Russian-built Soyuz-2 rockets. The first Soyuz launch from ELS was postponed several times, but launched on October 21, 2011.
ELS is located on the territory of Sinnamary commune, 27 km (17 mi) from Kourou harbor. It is 10 km (6.2 mi) north of the site used for the Ariane 5 launches. Under the terms of the Russo-European joint venture, ESA will augment its own launch vehicle fleet with Soyuz rockets—using them to launch ESA or commercial payloads—and the Russians will get access to the Kourou spaceport for launching their own payloads with Soyuz rockets. Russia will use the Guiana Space Centre in addition to Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Guiana location has the significant benefit of greatly increased payload capability, owing to the near equatorial position. A Soyuz rocket with a 1.7 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) performance from Baikonur, will increase its payload potential to 2.8 tonnes from the Guiana launch site.
The ELS project is being co-funded by Arianespace, ESA, and the European Union, with CNES being the prime contractor. The project has a projected cost of approximately €320 million, where €120 million are allocated for modernizing the Soyuz vehicle. The official opening of the launch site construction occurred on 27 February 2007. Excavation work however, had previously begun several months beforehand.
On September 13, 2010, Spaceflight Now reported that after several delays in the construction of a mobile gantry the launch pad had been finished, and the first flight of the Soyuz was expected to occur in early 2011. By October 2010, 18 launch contracts had been signed. Arianespace has ordered 24 launchers from Russian industry.
Astrium assembles each Ariane 5 launcher in the Launcher Integration Building. The vehicle is then delivered to the Final Assembly Building for payload integration by Arianespace. The Final Assembly Building is located 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi) from the ELA-3 launch zone. The mobile launch table completes the trip with an Ariane 5 in about one hour. It is then secured in place over the launch pad's flame ducts.
Fire safety is ensured by a detachment of the Paris Fire Brigade, a branch of the French Army. Security around the base is ensured by French Gendarmerie forces, assisted by the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment of the French Foreign Legion.
Before and during launch windows, CSG facility security is significantly enhanced by anti-personnel and anti-aircraft measures, the exact configurations of which are classified by the French military. All entrants to the launch complex are also subject to checks for proof of permission to enter the facility.
The Guiana Space Centre (as per CNES) also contains the Îles du Salut, a former penal colony including the infamous Devil's Island. Now a tourist site, the islands are under the launching trajectory for geosynchronous orbit and have to be evacuated during launches.
As of 2017, Kourou counts amongst the spaceports with the highest percentage of successful launches, both successive and overall. Here is a chronology of all orbital launches from the Kourou spaceport since 1970, under the French and European space programmes.
Success Failure Partial Failure Scheduled
Charts include all orbital launches from Kourou; sounding rockets are excluded.
Historical data: launch tables from List of Ariane launches, Soyuz ST, Vega and Encyclopedia Aeronautica.
Last updated on 28 October 2018.
AMC-7 is a commercial broadcast communications satellite owned by SES S.A., originally from the GE Americom fleet. Launched on September 14, 2000, from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, AMC-7 provides C band coverage to North America, Hawaii, the Caribbean islands and most of Mexico, and is located in a geostationary orbit over the Pacific Ocean east of Hawaii. The satellite is primarily used for cable television programming distribution.In 2015 the satellite was taken out of commercial service and moved from 137° West to 135° West longitude, where it now serves as a backup to AMC-10.Amos (satellite)
Amos is a series of Israeli communications satellites. All Amos satellites are operated by Spacecom. Five out of the six Amos satellites, the ones developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, use the AMOS bus platform. The exception, Amos 5, was developed by JSC Reshetnev and it uses Ekspress bus platform.
The six Amos satellites used five different launch vehicles: Soyuz, Zenit, Proton, Ariane and Falcon 9; and three different launch sites: Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Guiana Space Centre and Cape Canaveral in Florida.Columbia 515
Columbia 515, previously named Intelsat VA F-15 or Intelsat 515, was a communications satellite operated by Intelsat and which was later sold to Columbia Communications Corporation. Launched in 1989, it was the fifteenth of fifteen Intelsat V satellites to be launched. The Intelsat V series was constructed by Ford Aerospace, based on the Intelsat-V satellite bus.
Columbia 515 was part of an advanced series of satellites designed to provide greater telecommunications capacity for Intelsat's global network. The satellite was deactivated on November, 2002.
The satellite was successfully launched into space on 27 January 1989, at 01:21 UTC, by means of an Ariane 2 vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana. It had a launch mass of 2,013 kg. The Columbia 515 was equipped with 6 Ku-band transponders more 29 C-band transponders for 15,000 audio circuits and 2 TV channels.ELA-1
ELA-1, short for Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 1 (French for Ariane Launch Area 1), now named Ensemble de Lancement Vega (short ELV), is a launch pad at the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana. It has been used to support launches of the Europa rocket, Ariane 1, Ariane 3, and is currently used to launch Vega rockets.ELA-2
ELA-2, short for Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 2 (French for Ariane Launch Area 2), was a launch pad at the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana. It was used by Arianespace for two Ariane 3 launches (V17 in 1986, V25 in 1988), the second Ariane 2 launch in 1987 (the 20th Ariane launch), and all 116 Ariane 4 launches between 1988 and 2003. Following the retirement of the Ariane 4 in favour of the Ariane 5, ELA-2 was deactivated. In September 2011 the pad's mobile service tower was demolished using explosives.ELA-3
ELA-3, short for Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 3 (French for Ariane Launch Area 3), is a launch pad and associated facilities at the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana. ELA-3 is operated by Arianespace as part of the expendable launch system for Ariane 5 rockets. As of February 2019, 103 launches have been carried out from it, the first of which occurred on 4 June 1996.
ELA-3 is 21 square kilometres in size.Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz
The Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz (ELS) (in English Soyuz Launch Complex) is a launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou/Sinnamary, French Guiana. It is used by Soyuz-ST rockets: modified versions of the Soyuz-2 optimised for launch from Kourou under Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre programme.GSAT-17
GSAT-17 is an Indian communications satellite. Built by ISRO and operated by INSAT, it carries 24 C-band, 2 lower C-band, 12 upper C-band, 2 CxS (C-band up/S-band down), and 1 SxC (S-band up/C-band down) transponders. It additionally carries a dedicated transponder for data relay (DRT) and search-and-rescue (SAR) services. At the time of launch, GSAT-17 was the heaviest satellite built by ISRO.The satellite was launched on 28 June 2017 aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. GSAT-17 is the 21st satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace.Intelsat 707
Intelsat 707 (also known as IS-707 and Intelsat 7-F7) is a geostationary communication satellite that was built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL). It is located in the orbital position of 53 degrees west longitude and it is currently in an inclined orbit. The same is owned by Intelsat. The satellite was based on the LS-1300 platform and its estimated useful life was 15 years.The satellite was successfully launched into space on March 14, 1996, at 07:11, using an Ariane 4 vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana. It had a launch mass of 4,180 kg. The Intelsat 707 carried 26 C band and 14 Ku band transponders to provide Europe and the Americas with 3 television channels and 22,500 telephone circuits after parking over the eastern coast of Brazil.Intelsat VA F-14
Intelsat 514, previously named Intelsat VA F-14, was a communications satellite operated by Intelsat. Launched in 1986, it was the fourteenth of fifteen Intelsat V satellites to be launched. The Intelsat V series was constructed by Ford Aerospace, based on the Intelsat-V satellite bus.
Intelsat VA F-14 was part of an advanced series of satellites designed to provide greater telecommunications capacity for Intelsat's global network. The satellite was destroyed because of explosion of the Ariane 2 rocket, in the third stage.
The satellite was successfully launched into space on 31 May 1986, at 00:53:03 UTC, by means of an Ariane 2 vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana. It had a launch mass of 2,013 kg. The Intelsat IVA F-14 was equipped with 6 Ku-band transponders more 26 C-band transponders for 15,000 audio circuits and 2 TV channels.Intelsat V F-7
Intelsat 507, previously named Intelsat V F-7, was a communications satellite operated by Intelsat. Launched in 1983, it was the seventh of fifteen Intelsat V satellites to be launched. The Intelsat V series was constructed by Ford Aerospace, based on the Intelsat-V satellite bus. It was the first satellite of the Intelsat family not to be launched by the United States.
Intelsat V F-67was part of an advanced series of satellites designed to provide greater telecommunications capacity for Intelsat's global network. The satellite was deactivated in August 1996.
The satellite was successfully launched into space on October 19, 1983, at 00:45 UTC, by means of an Ariane 1 vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana. It had a launch mass of 1,928 kg. The Intelsat 507 was equipped with 4 Ku-band transponders more 21 C-band transponders for 12,000 audio circuits and 2 TV channels.Intelsat V F-8
Intelsat 508, previously named Intelsat V F-8, was a communications satellite operated by Intelsat. Launched in 1984, it was the eighth of fifteen Intelsat V satellites to be launched. The Intelsat V series was constructed by Ford Aerospace, based on the Intelsat-V satellite bus. Intelsat V F-8 was part of an advanced series of satellites designed to provide greater telecommunications capacity for Intelsat's global network.
The satellite was successfully launched into space on October 19, 1983, at 00:45 UTC, by means of an Ariane 1 vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana. It had a launch mass of 1,928 kg. The Intelsat V F-8 was equipped with 4 Ku-band transponders more 21 C-band transponders for 12,000 audio circuits and 2 TV channels.Kourou Station
Kourou Station (also known as Kourou 93) is an ESTRACK satellite ground station in French Guiana. Two antennas are located at the site: A 15-meter one that receives in X- and S-bands along with smaller 1.3-meter X-band acquisition aid antenna. Additional facilities provide tracking, telemetry, telecommand and radiometric measurements.
Station is located 27 kilometres (17 mi) from the town of Kourou and 19 kilometres (12 mi) from Guiana Space Centre.
During its routine operations it is used for Launch and Early Orbit Phase communication as well as control of the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory. In 2009 new station for a support of Galileo satellites was inaugurated in Kourou Station.NSS-513
NSS-513, previously named Intelsat VA F-13 or Intelsat 513, was a communications satellite operated by Intelsat and which was later sold to New Satellite Skies on November 30, 1998. Launched in 1988, it was the thirteenth of fifteen Intelsat V satellites to be launched. The Intelsat V series was constructed by Ford Aerospace, based on the Intelsat-V satellite bus.
NSS-513 was part of an advanced series of satellites designed to provide greater telecommunications capacity for Intelsat's global network. The satellite was deactivated on August, 2003.
The satellite was successfully launched into space on May 17, 1988, at 23:58 UTC, by means of an Ariane 2 vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana. It had a launch mass of 2,013 kg. The NSS-513 was equipped with 6 Ku-band transponders more 26 C-band transponders for 15,000 audio circuits and 2 TV channels.R-7 (rocket family)
The R-7 family of rockets (Russian: Р-7) is a series of rockets, derived from the Soviet R-7 Semyorka, the world's first ICBM. More R-7 rockets have been launched than any other family of large rockets.
When Soviet nuclear warheads got lighter, the R-7 turned out to be impractical as a ballistic missile. It was not necessary to launch such heavy payloads in a military application. The rockets became useful in the Soviet, and later, Russian space programmes with long-term development. Their purpose shifted primarily to launching satellites, probes, manned and unmanned spacecraft, and other non-threatening payloads. The R-7 family consists of both missiles and orbital carrier rockets. Derivatives include the Vostok, Voskhod and Soyuz rockets, which as of 2017 have been used for all Soviet, and later Russian manned spaceflights. The type has a unique configuration where four break-away liquid-fueled engines surround a central core. The core acts as, in effect, a "second stage" after the other four engines are jettisoned.
These rockets are expendable.
Later modifications were standardised around the Soyuz design. The Soyuz-FG and Soyuz-2 are currently in use. The official Russian press announced that the Soyuz-FG is to be retired by 2019 or 2020 in favour of the Soyuz-2.1a. R-7 rockets are launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Guiana Space Centre (since 2011, see Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre), and the Vostochny Cosmodrome (first launch 2016).
After the R-7/Soyuz-U and the Thor and Delta rocket families, the Kosmos launch vehicle , the best known of which is the Kosmos-3M, holds the 3rd place record for number of successful orbital launch attempts, that is, of placing a satellite in orbit.SSOT (satellite)
Sistema Satelital para Observación de la Tierra (SSOT), also known as FASat-Charlie, is a Chilean earth observation satellite launched on 16 December 2011 from Guiana Space Centre on board a Soyuz ST rocket.SSOT is a Miniaturized satellite built on the Myriade satellite bus by EADS Astrium. It was part of a six-satellite payload along with Pléiades-HR 1, ELISA 1, ELISA 2, ELISA 3 and ELISA 4.ST-2
ST-2 is a telecommunications satellite made by Mitsubishi Electric. It was launched on May 20, 2011 atop an Ariane 5 ECA rocket from ESA's Guiana Space Centre in a dual-launch mission with GSAT-8.
ST-2 is a replacement for the ST-1 satellite. It is built around the DS2000 spacecraft bus. It is in geosynchronous orbit at 88 deg. East, and is operated by the ST-2 Satellite Ventures joint company of Singapore Telecommunications(SingTel) and Chunghwa Telecom. It provides relay services over the Middle East, Central Asia, India and Southeast Asia.Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre
Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre (also known as Soyuz at CSG or Arianespace Soyuz) is an ongoing ESA programme for operating Soyuz-ST launch vehicles from Guiana Space Centre (CSG), providing medium-size launch capability for Arianespace to accompany the light Vega and heavy-lift Ariane 5. The Soyuz vehicle is supplied by the Russian Federal Space Agency with TsSKB-Progress and NPO Lavochkin, while additional components are supplied by Airbus, Thales Group and RUAG.The Arianespace Soyuz project was announced by the ESA in 2002. Cooperation with Russia began in two areas: construction of a launch site for Soyuz in CSG and development of the Soyuz launch vehicle modified for the Guiana Space Centre. A Programme Declaration was signed in 2003 and funding along with final approval was granted on 4 February 2005. Initial excavation for the Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz (ELS; Soyuz Launch Complex) began in 2005, construction started in 2007, and the launch complex was completed in early 2011, allowing Arianespace to offer launch services on the modified Soyuz ST-B to its clients. Two early flights, VS02 and VS04, and a recent flight, VS17, used the Soyuz ST-A variant. Since 2011, Arianespace has ordered a total of 23 Soyuz rockets, enough to cover its needs until 2019 at a pace of three to four launches per year.Yahsat 1A
Yahsat 1A is a communications satellite constructed by EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space for Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat). It was launched in April 2011 from Arianespace's Guiana Space Centre in Kourou French Guiana in a dual payload launch with Intelsat New Dawn atop an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. Yahsat Y1A is based on the Eurostar E3000 satellite bus and had a launch mass of about 6000 kg. It is intended to provide Ku, Ka and C-band communications to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Southwest Asia. It is in geosynchronous orbit at fifty three degrees East.