El Arenosillo

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El Arenosillo Test Centre (CEDEA)
Stratos II+ sounding rocket launched from El Arenosillo.
FormationOctober 4, 1966[1]
Typerocket launch site
Coordinates37°05′49″N 6°44′19″W / 37.09687°N 6.73863°W / 37.09687; -6.73863 (El Arenosillo)
OwnerINTA (Spain)
Carlos Maestro Fernández

El Arenosillo Test Centre (CEDEA) is the name of a rocket launch site for suborbital rockets managed by INTA, located near Mazagón in Spain.[2] It is located in the province of Huelva, Andalucía, in the southwest coast of Spain (37.1° N, 6.7° W)[3]. CEDEA is adjacent to the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Systems (CEUS). El Arenosillo is also the location of an autonomous astronomical observatory of the BOOTES network [1], with two domes and three telescopes.


Among the main facilities that INTA has at CEDEA are (updated 2009):

  • Two automatic telemetry systems (fixed and mobile) in S and L bands
  • HF, UHF and VHF communications systems
  • Airborne and maritime surveillance radars, NORTHCONTROL
  • Mobile path radar, VITRO RIR 778X, 250 Kw
  • Radar path, TRACOR RIR 779C, 1 Mw
  • 1Mw VITRO RIR 778C mobile path radar with destruction command
  • Three autonomous mobile optronic stations, MSP 2000, equipped with IR, TV, cinema and radar sensors (3D, high precision and with telemetric capabilities)
  • Weather center with real-time information, satellite data reception and complete radiosonde system
  • Control center where all the information necessary for the supervision and monitoring of a launching operation (air traffic control, meteorology, cartography, sensor data integration, flight safety, etc.) is centralized.
  • Evaluation center: preparation, analysis and evaluation of reports
  • Two high speed cameras (10000 images/s)

Complementing the above, the Center also has:

  • Meteorological laboratory and probe balloons
  • Presentation and conference room
  • Telemetry, radar and optronic workshops
  • Mechanical workshop, electrical workshop, sanitary service and warehouses
  • Accommodation service for operations
  • Laboratory for photographic processing

In 2017 part of the equipment was damaged in a wildfire. In the years 2018 and 2019 INTA has dedicated part of its budget to replace damaged equipment.


Incomplete list of launch pads:

Launch history[edit]

The first launch of a rocket from El Arenosillo took place October 15, 1966[4]. Up to 1994 a total of 557 rockets were launched from this base, mainly of the Skua type for atmospheric soundings and in collaboration with other countries.[5]

All rockets for atmospheric soundings in Spain are launched from El Arenosillo.

In 2015 Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering broke the European altitude record for amateur rocketry by launching the Stratos II+ rocket to 21.5 km altitude from El Arenosillo.[6]

On March 1, 2017, Zero 2 Infinity tested its first rocket, a Bloostar prototype, in El Arenosillo[7]. A balloon took Bloostar to 25 km. At 25 km the ignition of the rocket took place. The goals of the mission were: (i) validation of the telemetry systems in Space conditions, (ii) controlled ignition, (iii) stabilization of the rocket, (iv) monitoring of the launch sequence, (v) parachute deployment, and finally, (vi) sea recovery. All these goals were achieved in full.[8]

In 2020 PLD Space is expected to launch its first rocket Miura 1 from El Arenosillo.

Date (UTC) Vehicle Payload Launch pad Result Remarks
October 15, 1966 Skua INTA, Carabela 4 Aeronomy / test ? Success First launch, 81 km apogee
July 19, 1969 INTA-255 ? ? Success
December 20, 1969 INTA-255 ? ? Success
December 22, 1970 INTA-255 ? ? Success
January 12, 1974, 19:12 Skylark H-GR-58 ? Success
June 27, 1976 Black Brant IV ASTRO-6, EUV radiation ? Success 720 km apogee
February 18, 1981 INTA-300 ? Nike Success
April 7, 1992[9] INTA-100 ? ? Success First launch of INTA-100. 120 km apogee
October 21, 1993 INTA-300B ? Nike[10] Success
April 16, 1994 INTA-300B ? Nike Success
2015 Stratos II+ ? ? Success 21.5 km (new European amateur record)
March 1, 2017 Bloostar ? - Success Bloostar first test
26 Jul 2018 Stratos III ? ? Failure
2020 (Planned) Miura I Payload from ZARM Médano del Loro -

Only some launches are listed here. For information on individual rockets, see the List of rockets launched from El Arenosillo.


  1. ^ International Aerospace Abstracts. Technical Information Service, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 1970.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-08-22. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ A. Méndez-Vilas (21 November 2005). Recent Advances in Multidisciplinary Applied Physics: Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Applied Physics (APHYS 2003) October 13-18th, 2003, Badajoz, Spain. Elsevier. pp. 173–. ISBN 978-0-08-044648-6.
  4. ^ http://hemeroteca.abc.es/nav/Navigate.exe/hemeroteca/madrid/abc/1966/10/16/063.html
  5. ^ http://www.astronautix.com/sites/elasillo.htm
  6. ^ http://www.tudelft.nl/nl/actueel/laatste-nieuws/artikel/detail/missie-geslaagd-studentraket-bereikt-215-km-hoogte/
  7. ^ http://huelva24.com/art/97828/el-runrun-el-arenosillo-mira-al-espacio
  8. ^ "Zero 2 Infinity Successfully Launches its First Rocket from the Edge of Space - Z2I". Z2I. 2017-03-13. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  9. ^ https://elpais.com/diario/1992/04/08/sociedad/702684003_850215.html
  10. ^ https://huelvabuenasnoticias.com/2016/11/09/el-centro-de-el-arenosillo-celebra-su-50-aniversario-dedicando-un-monumento-al-cohete-inta-300-b/