The French Guiana Space Centre (Centre Spatial Guyanais or CSG) is a renowned spaceport located near the town of Kourou in French Guiana, a territory of France situated on the northeastern coast of South America. Established in 1964, the CSG is operated by the French space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), and serves as the primary launch site for the European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace, a commercial launch service provider.
The CSG's strategic location near the equator (5.3 degrees North latitude) offers significant advantages for launching spacecraft, as the Earth's rotation provides an additional velocity boost, enabling more efficient launches and higher payload capacities. The space center covers an area of approximately 700 square kilometers, encompassing a vast array of facilities, including launch pads, tracking stations, and support infrastructure.
The space center has been at the forefront of numerous space missions and has facilitated the launch of various types of rockets, such as the Ariane family, the Vega, and Soyuz. These launches have supported a wide range of scientific, commercial, and military payloads, including communication satellites, Earth observation platforms, and interplanetary probes.
In addition to its role in advancing space exploration, the CSG also contributes to the economic development of French Guiana, providing employment opportunities and fostering technological advancements in the region. A summary of CGS's economic linkages, 2014 estimated values, are documented by ESA in the illustration below. A more detailed explanation is provided here.