Cente Spatial Guyanais, Kourou, French Guiana.
Inaugural flights; Ariane 5 (1995), Soyouz (2011), and Vega (2012).
Sent by Eric of Centre Spatial Guyanais in Kourou, French Guiana.
The Guiana Space Centre or, more commonly, Centre spatial guyanais (CSG) is a French and European spaceport near 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 quite close to the equator, so that the spinning earth can impart some extra velocity to the rockets for free when launched eastward, and
- it has uninhabited territory (in this case, 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, the French space agency CNES, and the commercial Arianespace company conduct launches from Kourou. This is 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. When the European Space Agency (ESA) was founded 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. (read further)