The member space agencies
ESA, The European Space Agency
CNES, the French space agency
Europe’s spaceport and launchers
Since 1979, the launchers developed by ESA have given Europe independent access to space, from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s Spaceport.
A series of Ariane versions has been operated at the CSG over the last 30 years, the present version being the heavylift launcher Ariane 5 (payload capacity of 10 tonnes to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) and up to 20 tonnes to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), where the International Space Station is positioned).
Ariane was joined in 2011 by the medium-lift launcher Soyuz (3.2 tonnes to GTO), in the framework of cooperation with Russia, and in 2012 by the small launcher Vega (1.5 tonnes to LEO).
This range of launchers is now able to reach all orbits and launch all types of mission.
ESA’s Member States, keen to strengthen industrial competences in the launcher sector, have decided to continue with development of the adapted Ariane 5 ME, a more powerful version than the current Ariane 5 launcher, and to begin development of a new generation launcher, Ariane 6, which will enable Europe to maintain its global no. 1 position.