The Guiana Space Centre (CSG) ) is a French and European spaceport to the northwest of Kourou in French Guiana, a region of France in South America. Operational since 1968, it is particularly suitable as a location for a spaceport. 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.
It has open sea to the east, so that lower stages of rockets and debris from launch failures are unlikely to fall on human habitations. Rockets launch to the east to take advantage of the angular momentum provided by Earth's rotation.
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.
This was the spaceport used by the ESA to send supplies to the International Space Station using the Automated Transfer Vehicle.
Formed: 14 April 1964
Jurisdiction: Government of France
Headquarters Kourou, French Guiana, France
Employees: 1,525 direct (2011)
7,500 indirect (2011)
Agency Executive: Didier Faivre, director
Parent Agency: ESA/CNES
Social Network: Facebook
Official Website: www.cnes.csg.fr
The location was selected in 1964 to become the spaceport of France. 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.
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 24 April 2017.
List of Space Agencies in Europe:
- European Space Operations Centre (ESOC)
- European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC)
- European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC)
- European Astronaut Centre (EAC)
- European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT)
- ESA Centre for Earth Observation (ESRIN)
- European Space Tracking Network (ESTRACK)
- European Space Agency (ESA)