Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

Guiana Space Centre

Guiana Space Centre
Kourou location
Guiana Space Centre is Europe's main the launch facility, owned by ESA (European Space Agency) and operated by CNES (the French space agency). Located near Kourou in French Guiana, on the northern coast of South America at 5.2° N, 52.8° W, it is ideal for launching satellites into geosynchronous orbits and also supports missions into polar orbit. It benefits from Earth's rotation near the equator, which gives a free boost of 460 m/s to eastward-launched rockets.

Originally selected by CNES, the Kourou site has been vastly expanded with funding from ESA for its Ariane launcher programs. The Ariane 5 facilities alone cover 21 square km out of a total of 850 square km occupied by the spaceport.

Related category