Introduction to Europe’s spaceport

Europe’s spaceport “Centre Spatial Guyanais” (CSG), is located in French Guiana.

Its two main building complexes are:

  • The CNES/CSG establishment, which is a centre of the French national space Agency, devoted to the general coordination and support of the launching activities, with radars, telemetry antennas, telecommunications and meteorological facilities, laboratories, etc. It is complemented by ESA-owned facilities put at CNES’s disposal for supporting the launch activities, like the spacecraft processing complexes (EPCU) and the down-range tracking stations.
  • The ELA Ariane launch complexes, which contain all the ESA-developed facilities, devoted to the launcher preparation and integration and to specific launch operations. There are also other ELA’s-associated facilities, again mainly belonging to ESA, devoted to the manufacture of such launcher elements as the Ariane 5 solid-propellant boosters, and the production of liquid oxygen and hydrogen.

The total value of the ESA assets at CSG is more than 1.6 billion euros.

In order to make sure that the above facilities are kept in operational conditions for ESA launcher programmes (Ariane, Vega, etc) ESA funds 2/3 of the fixed costs of the CNES/CSG establishment (this represent roughly 85 M€ per year) and more than 50% of the fixed costs of the ELA complexes.

As it is the rule in all ESA programmes and activities, this ESA funding implies that fair and open access to the business opportunities offered by the CSG shall be granted to industries of all ESA member States.

Last update: 21 July 2008

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