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A base for the Russian Soyuz launch vehicle is being constructed at the European Spaceport in French Guiana. Soyuz is a medium-class launcher and its performance will perfectly complement that of the other ESA launchers, Ariane and Vega. Launching from near the equator will enable Soyuz to carry twice the payload mass that is possible from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
This new launch facility for the venerable Soyuz vehicle is located at Sinnamary, 12 kilometres northwest of the existing Ariane 5 launch complex, extending the spaceport’s operational zone further up the French Guiana coastline.
The first Soyuz launch is planned for 2010.