Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz

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Map of the complex.
Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz
Launch site Guiana Space Centre
Short name ELS
Operator Arianespace
Launch pad(s) One
Launch history
Status Active
Launches 7
First launch 21 October 2011
Soyuz ST-B/Fregat / Galileo-IOV PFM/FM1
Last launch 3 April 2014
Soyuz ST-B/Fregat-M / Sentinel-1A Earth observation
Associated rockets Soyuz-ST
Map showing the Soyuz Complex at the upper left, with the main spaceport to the lower right.

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.[1] It is used by Soyuz-ST rockets: modified versions of the Soyuz-2 optimised for launch from Kourou.

The first launch to use the complex occurred on 21 October 2011, when a Soyuz ST-B launched the first two Galileo IOV-1 & IOV-2 spacecraft.[2]

The site's equatorial latitude allows a greater payload mass to be delivered into geosynchronous transfer orbit compared to existing Soyuz launch facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.[2]

ELS is fifteen kilometres northwest of the launch facilities used by Ariane rockets.

It consists of a single launch pad, with a horizontal assembly and processing facility, or MIK, located 700 metres away. As with the Soyuz launch complexes at Baikonur and Plesetsk, the pad is connected to the MIK by means of a wide gauge railway, along which the rocket is transported before erection at the pad.

Unlike other Soyuz launch complexes, the pad features a mobile service tower, where the payload is integrated when the rocket is in the vertical position; at Baikonur and Plesetsk the payload is horizontally integrated in the MIK before the rocket is moved to the pad.[3] The tower shrouds the rocket during integration, but is moved back to a safe distance (again on rails) prior to launch.

ELS also differs in having a fixed launch mount, rather than one which can be rotated,[4] meaning that the rocket may need to execute a roll manoeuvre during its ascent to orbit. Earlier rockets in the R-7 family were incapable of rolling, so their launch complexes were built to allow launch azimuth to be adjusted before launch.

Launch history[edit]

Flight Date Time (GMT) Configuration Result Payload Remarks
VS01 21 October 2011 10:30 Soyuz 2.1b/ST Fregat Success[5] IOV-1 & IOV-2 Navigation satellites
VS02 17 December 2011 02:03 Soyuz 2.1a/ Fregat Success[6] Pleiades 1A
ELISA (4 satellites)
Imaging Satellite
Earth observation satellite for Chile
Electronic Intelligence Satellites
VS03 12 October 2012 18:15 Soyuz 2.1b/ST Fregat Success[7] IOV-3 & IOV-4 Navigation satellites
VS04 2 December 2012 02:02 Soyuz 2.1a/ST Fregat Success[8] Pleiades 1B Imaging Satellite
VS05 25 June 2013 19:27 Soyuz 2.1b/ST Fregat Success[9] O3b 1/2/3/4 Low Earth orbit communication satellites
VS06 19 December 2013 09:12 Soyuz 2.1b/ST-B Fregat-MT Success[10] Gaia Lissajous orbit - Space observatory
VS07 3 April 2014 21:02 Soyuz 2.1b/ST-A Fregat-M Success[11] Sentinel-1A Sun-synchronous orbit - Earth observation
VS08 10 July 2014 Soyuz 2.1b/ST-B Success[12] O3b 5/6/7/8 Low Earth orbit communication satellites
VS09 2014 Soyuz 2.1b/ST Fregat FOC-1 & FOC-2 Navigation satellites


Coordinates: 5°18′07″N 52°50′04″W / 5.301861°N 52.834582°W / 5.301861; -52.834582