Guiana Space Centre

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Centre Spatial Guyanais
LogoCSG.png
Entrée du Centre Spatial Guyanais.jpg
Sign at the entrance to the Guiana Space Centre
Agency overview
Formed April 14, 1964 (1964-04-14)
Jurisdiction Government of France
Headquarters Kourou, French Guiana
Employees 1,525 direct (2011)
7,500 indirect (2011)
Agency executive
  • Bernard Chemoul, director
Parent agency ESA/CNES
Website www.cnes-csg.fr
Map
Plan Centre Spatial Guyanais-en.svg
Map of Guiana Space Centre

The Guiana Space Centre or, more commonly, Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) is a French and European spaceport to the northwest of Kourou in French Guiana. Operational since 1968, it is particularly suitable as a location for a spaceport as it fulfills the two major geographical requirements of such a site:

  • it is near the equator, so that less energy is required to maneuver a spacecraft into an equatorial, geostationary orbit, and
  • it has open sea to the east, so that lower stages of rockets and debris from launch failures cannot fall on human habitations.

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.[1][2][3] 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.[4][5] In 1975, France offered to share Kourou with ESA.[4][5] 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.

On 4 April 2017, the centre was occupied by 30 labour union leaders in the midst of the 2017 social unrest in French Guiana, but was taken back on April 24, 2017.[6]

Facilities[edit]

The now-decommissioned ELA 2 - l'Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 2 Ariane 4 launch site
The final assembly building for Ariane 5
ELA-3 map

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 60m/s more delta-v to reach Low Earth Orbit (LEO) from Cape Canaveral, which is an insignificant disadvantage.[7][8]

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 of with an inclination of ~6°. The lowest inclination a rocket from Cape Canaveral could be launched to is 34°. Inclination change burns already require significant amounts of delta-v, so needing to change inclination by 34° 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 6,270kgs to GTO while a Kourou-launched Ariane 5 can send more than 10,000kgs to GTO. [9][10]

ELV (CECLES/ELA-1)[edit]

Originally built in the 1960s under the name of CECLES (French: Conférence Européenne de Construction de Lanceurs et d'Engins Spatiaux, English: European conference on construction of launchers and spacecraft), the ELV pad (French: l'Ensemble de Lancement Vega) located at 5°14′10″N 52°46′30″W / 5.236°N 52.775°W / 5.236; -52.775 was designed for the Europa-II rocket. One Europa-II was launched from the site, before the programme was cancelled.[citation needed]

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.[11]

It was again refurbished for the Vega rocket with the first launch performed on 13 February 2012.[12]

ELA 2[edit]

The ELA 2 pad (French: l'Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 2), located at 5°13′55″N 52°46′34″W / 5.232°N 52.776°W / 5.232; -52.776 had been used for Ariane 4 launches until 2003.[citation needed]

ELA 3[edit]

ELA 3 (French: l'Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 3) has been active for Ariane 5 launches since 1996 (Ariane 501). This facility is located at 5°14′20″N 52°46′05″W / 5.239°N 52.768°W / 5.239; -52.768 and covers an area of 21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi).[13]

ELS / Soyuz at CSG[edit]

ESA has built ELS (French: l'Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz) at 5°18′18″N 52°50′02″W / 5.305°N 52.834°W / 5.305; -52.834 for launching Russian-built Soyuz-2 rockets. The first Soyuz launch from ELS was postponed several times, but launched on October 21, 2011.[14]

ELS is located on the territory of Sinnamary commune, 27 km (17 mi) from Kourou harbor.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] By October 2010, 18 launch contracts had been signed. Arianespace has ordered 24 launchers from Russian industry.[19]

On October 21, 2011, two Galileo IOV-1 & IOV-2 satellites were launched using a Soyuz-ST rocket, in the "first Russian Soyuz vehicle ever launched from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana."[20]

Final assembly building[edit]

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.[21] 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.[22]

Launches[edit]

Launch safety[edit]

Ariane IV launched from the Guiana Space Centre on 10 August 1992

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.

Early launches[edit]

  • 10 March 1970 - The first Diamant-B launched the DIAL/MIKA and DIAL/WIKA satellites. DIAL/MIKA failed during launch, but it entered orbit with a total mass of 111 kg.[23] DIAL/WIKA provided data for about two months after launch.[24]

Recent launches[edit]

  • 5 October 2007 — An Ariane 5 GS launched from CSG carrying Intelsat 11 and Optus D2.[25]
  • 9 March 2008 — An Ariane 5 launched carrying the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) Jules Verne in preparation for docking with the ISS. This was the first launch of the ESA unmanned resupply craft.
  • 18 April 2008 — An Ariane 5 launched carrying Vinasat-1 — Vietnam's first satellite.[26]
  • 14 August 2008 — An Ariane 5 carrying Superbird 7 for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and AMC-21 for SES Americom
  • 20 December 2008 — An Ariane 5 carrying HOT BIRD 9 and W2M for Eutelsat[27][28]
  • 14 May 2009 — An Ariane 5 carrying the ESA's Herschel and Planck space telescopes[29]
  • 1 July 2009 — An Ariane 5 carrying TerreStar-1, the heaviest commercial telecommunications satellite ever launched[30]
  • 18 December 2009 — An Ariane 5 carrying Helios 2B European military observation satellite used by France, Belgium, Spain and Greece.[31]
  • 21 May 2011 — 04:38 (GMT+08:00) An Ariane 5 ECA rocket launched carrying ST-2 Satellite twice as powerful SingTel's first satellite ST-1 which was launched back in 1998. It will provide 20 per cent more transponder capacity and a wider coverage footprint than ST-1, with C-band and Ku-band coverage of the Middle East, Central Asia, Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia.[citation needed]
  • 21 October 2011 — A Soyuz-2 carrying two Galileo satellites was launched. This was the first launch of a Soyuz rocket at the Guiana Space Centre.[32]
  • 17 December 2011 — A Soyuz carrying the French space agency's Pleiades 1 Earth imaging satellite, four ELISA electronic intelligence satellites, and the SSOT remote sensing satellite for the Chilean military. This was the second launch of a Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre.[33]
An Ariane 5 lifts off from Kourou on 29 August 2013.
  • 13 February 2012 — The Vega, which was designed in Italy, lifted off at 10:00 GMT on its maiden voyage. The launcher released nine satellites into orbit: two Italian satellites and seven pico-satellites.[34]
  • 5 July 2012 — The unmanned Ariane 5 rocket took off to send an American communication satellite and European weather-monitoring spacecraft into orbit. Liftoff occurred at 17:36 EDT (21:36 GMT).[35]
  • 30 August 2013 — Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the advanced multi-band communication satellite GSAT-7.[36] It was 17th Indian satellite launched from ESA with Ariane.[37]
  • 1 October 2015 — Sky Muster (NBN-Co 1A) is a communication satellite launched on an Ariane 5ECA rocket. Sky Muster is the first satellite of an operation to improve Australia's internet with the NBN program.
  • 6 October 2016 — Sky Muster II (NBN-Co 1B) is a communication satellite launched on an Ariane 5ECA rocket. Sky Muster II is the second satellite of an operation to improve Australia's internet with the NBN program.
  • 28 January 2017 — A Soyuz-2 STB carrying the geostationary communication satellite Hispasat 36W-1 to orbit. It is the first of the ESA's "Small-GEO" class of satellites.
  • 14 February 2017 - An Ariane 5 rocket carrying the commercial communication satellites Sky Brasil 1 (Intelsat 32e) and Telekom 3S launched the satellites to a geostationary orbit.

Future launches[edit]

Launch statistics[edit]

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.

Flights by launcher[edit]

2.5
5
7.5
10
12.5
15
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
2015

In development:      Ariane 6    Active:      Ariane 5       Soyuz ST       Vega   
Retired:      Diamant       Europa 2       Ariane 1       Ariane 2       Ariane 3       Ariane 4

Flights by mission outcome[edit]

2.5
5
7.5
10
12.5
15
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
2015

  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 14 June 2017.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CNES at Europe's Spaceport". European Space Agency. ESA. 
  2. ^ "ESA at Europe's Spaceport". European Space Agency. ESA. 
  3. ^ "Arianespace at Europe's Spaceport". European Space Agency. ESA. 
  4. ^ a b "Installation of the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana" Archived May 1, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. Guiana Space Centre official website
  5. ^ a b "Europe's Spaceport" Archived November 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. European Space Agency official website
  6. ^ "Guyane : le Centre spatial guyanais occupé par des manifestants". La Croix. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  7. ^ "Satellite Programmes Overview - Launching Satellites". EUMETSAT. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Up, Up, and Away". The Universe: In the Classroom. Astro Society. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  9. ^ "Ariane 5 - Arianespace". Arianespace. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  10. ^ "Commercial Launch Vehicle | ILS Proton Breeze M | International Launch Services". www.ilslaunch.com. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  11. ^ "Pad List - World Launch Sites". Space Launch Report. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. 
  12. ^ "Vega liftoff / Vega / Launch vehicles / Launchers / Our Activities / ESA". Esa.int. 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  13. ^ "Europe's spaceport". ESA. 
  14. ^ SpaceflightNow's VS01 flight status page Archived May 14, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Harvey, Brian. Space Exploration 2007. Springer. p. 138. 
  16. ^ (in French) Le Port Spatial de l'Europe (CNES) Archived September 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Europe To Pay Russia To Build Soyuz Pad At Kourou: Russia". SpaceDaily. 
  18. ^ "Soyuz, Vega flights from French Guiana set for 2011". 
  19. ^ "Arianespace hosts meeting of launch system manufacturers" (Press release). Evry. 11 October 2010. 
  20. ^ Messier, Doug (22 October 2011). "Soyuz Launches From Kourou for First Time". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Arianespace receives its fifth Ariane 5 of 2008". Arianespace. 28 July 2008. 
  22. ^ "Ariane 5 rolls out for Arianespace's fifth launch of 2007". Arianespace. 8 November 2007. 
  23. ^ "DIAL/MIKA - NSSDC ID: 1970-017B". NASA NSSDC. 
  24. ^ "DIAL/WIKA - NSSDC ID: 1970-017A". NASA NSSDC. 
  25. ^ "Arianespace boosts Intelsat 11 and Optus D2 into orbit". Arianespace. Archived from the original on 2008-06-01. 
  26. ^ "Vietnam successfully pilots Vinasat-1". VietNamNet. April 22, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  27. ^ http://www.eutelsat.com/satellites/HB9-W2M.html Archived January 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ "Eutelsat's Hot Bird 9 and W2M Satellites Lofted into Orbit" (PDF) (Press release). Paris: Eutelsat Communications. 20 December 2008. 
  29. ^ "ESA en route to the origins of the Universe". ESA. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  30. ^ Amos, Jonathan (1 July 2009). "Ariane lofts biggest 'space bird'". BBC. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  31. ^ "Helios 2". Archived from the original on 2012-10-31. Retrieved 19 Dec 2012. 
  32. ^ Rosenberg, Zach. "First Soyuz launch from French Guiana". FlightGlobal. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "Arianespace VSO2 mission: Soyuz STA orbits Pleiades 1A, ELISA and SSOT". Arianespace. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  34. ^ "Successful lift-off for Vega rocket". News24. 
  35. ^ "Follow Ariane launch live". Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales. (CNES). 
  36. ^ India launches first defence satellite GSAT-7 Archived January 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ Navy's first satellite GSAT-7 now in the Space Archived November 1, 2014, at Archive.isThe Hindu, Aug 30, 2013 by Madhumati D. S.
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  39. ^ "Fact Sheet". sci.esa.int. Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  40. ^ Clark, Stephen (June 9, 2017). "Launch schedule". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 5°14′14″N 52°45′38″W / 5.23722°N 52.76056°W / 5.23722; -52.76056