Visiting the Space Centre in French Guiana

French Guiana is a secluded region of France that embraces wildness and thick jungle. A blend of colonial architecture, and the world’s most diverse animals, French Guiana is a dream stop for people who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. However, today let’s move away from the colonial monuments and dense forest areas and space ourselves out.

Travel Guide to the world’s busiest satellite launchers- Centre Spatial Guyanais or Guiana Space center.

Why was French Guiana chosen for the space center?

The address was chosen for the unique terrestrial requirements of a spaceport. First, its position near the equator means that with the spin, Earth imparts additional velocity when rockets are launched eastward. Second, the area is mostly deserted, so there is little hazard of aircraft or wreckage falling on regional populations. Whenever there is an eastward launch, the tourist stops on the Îles du Salut are vacated to ensure everyone’s safety. The centre was first built to launch the Europa-II rocket and then the satellite-carrying Ariane rockets until 1989. Since 2012, it has served as the launchpad for the Vega rocket, an expandable launch system that transports small payloads, such as satellites for scientific investigation of the South and North Poles.

Travel Guide to Centre Spatial Guyanais

Touring the Centre Spatial Guyanais and observing a rocket launch are two of French Guiana’s greatest highlights. Both need to be planned in advance though, so plan carefully. To explore the CSG, you’ll need to register and apply on their website or by calling with your passport record at least 72 hours in advance. The three-hour bus tours of the space centre, which include a visit to the massive launchpad, are engaging; observing a launch is exceptional.

Write an email to the space centre ahead of time, mentioning your full name, phone number, address, and age. Entry is free of cost, but kids under 16 are not allowed on sites within 6-8km of the launchpad, and those under 8 are not permitted within 12-14km. You can also see it reservation-free, with locals at Kourou’s beaches or the Carapa Observation Site, 15km west of the city square.

Whether you’re viewing a launch or just exploring the space centre for a tour, be sure to carry your passport. Tour conductors at the space centre speak German or English; ask when you book. Note that the space centre is not available for civilian visits on the day before and the day after launch. Be aware that if a launch is suspended or delayed, the space station may be locked for a longer duration. This makes accompanying a launch and visiting the CSG for the tour quite hard to combine during a short stay, so plan and give yourself lots of time to do both.

P.S. Contrary to conspiracy theories, you won’t be able to see any aliens at the Guiana Space Center.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.