Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz
CSG Soyuz 01.JPG
Launch siteGuiana Space Centre
Short nameELS
Launch pad(s)One
Launch history
First launch21 October 2011
Soyuz STB/Fregat-MT / Galileo IOV 1+2
Last launch10 February 2022
Soyuz STB/Fregat-MT / OneWeb F13
Soyuz ST

The Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz (ELS) (in English Soyuz Launch Complex) is a launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou/Sinnamary, French Guiana.[1] It is used by Soyuz-ST rockets: modified versions of the Soyuz-2 optimised for launch from Kourou under Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre programme.


The first launch to use the complex occurred on 21 October 2011, when a Soyuz ST-B launched the first two Galileo In Orbit Validation spacecraft.[2]

The site's equatorial latitude allows a greater payload mass to be delivered into geosynchronous transfer orbit compared to existing Soyuz launch facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.[2]

ELS is fifteen kilometres north-west of the launch facilities used by Ariane rockets.

It consists of a single launch pad, with a horizontal assembly and processing facility, or MIK, located 700 metres away. As with the Soyuz launch complexes at Baikonur and Plesetsk, the pad is connected to the MIK by means of a wide gauge railway, along which the rocket is transported before erection at the pad.

Unlike other Soyuz launch complexes, the pad features a mobile service tower, where the payload is integrated when the rocket is in the vertical position; at Baikonur and Plesetsk the payload is horizontally integrated in the MIK before the rocket is moved to the pad.[3] The tower shrouds the rocket during integration, but is moved back to a safe distance (again on rails) prior to launch.

ELS also differs in having a fixed launch mount, rather than one which can be rotated,[4] meaning that the rocket may need to execute a roll manoeuvre during its ascent to orbit. Earlier rockets in the R-7 family were incapable of rolling, so their launch complexes were built to allow launch azimuth to be adjusted before launch.

In 2015 after the quantity of payload orders requiring fuelling at the launch complex S3B site had been identified as a possible bottleneck in flight operations FCube, a new clean room fuelling facility dedicated to the Fregat upper stage and potentially additional small satellite payloads was built which will cut fuelling times from five weeks to as little as one.[5]

On 26 February 2022, Roscosmos announced that it was suspending operations at ELS as a reaction to International Sanctions following the Russo-Ukrainian War.[6]

Launch history

Flight Date Time (GMT) Configuration Outcome Payload Remarks
VS01 21 October 2011 10:30 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[7] Galileo IOV-1 Navigation satellites
VS02 17 December 2011 02:03 Soyuz-STA/Fregat Success[8] Pleiades 1A
ELISA (4 satellites)
Imaging Satellite
Earth observation satellite for Chile
Electronic Intelligence Satellites
VS03 12 October 2012 18:15 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[9] Galileo IOV-2 Navigation satellites
VS04 2 December 2012 02:02 Soyuz-STA/Fregat Success[10] Pleiades 1B Imaging Satellite
VS05 25 June 2013 19:27 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[11] O3b F1 Low Earth orbit communication satellites
VS06 19 December 2013 09:12 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[12] Gaia Lissajous orbitSpace observatory
VS07 3 April 2014 21:02 Soyuz-STA/Fregat Success[13] Sentinel-1A Sun-synchronous orbitEarth observation
VS08 10 July 2014 18:55 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[14] O3b F2 Low Earth orbit communication satellites
VS09 22 August 2014 12:27 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Partial failure[15] Galileo FOC-1 Navigation satellites
VS10 18 December 2014 18:37 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[16] O3b F3 Low Earth orbit communication satellites
VS11 27 March 2015 21:46 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[17] Galileo FOC-2 Navigation satellites
VS12 11 September 2015 02:08 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[18] Galileo FOC-3 Navigation satellites
VS13 17 December 2015 11:51 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success[19] Galileo FOC-4 Navigation satellites
VS14 25 April 2016 21:02 Soyuz-STA/Fregat Success Sentinel-1B Sun-synchronous orbitEarth observation
VS15 24 May 2016 08:48 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success Galileo FOC-5 Navigation satellites
VS16 28 January 2017 01:03 Soyuz-STB/Fregat Success Hispasat 36W-1 Geostationary communication satellite
VS17 18 May 2017 11:55 Soyuz-STA/Fregat Success SES 15 Geostationary communication satellite
VS 18 9 March 2018 17:10 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT Success O3b F4 Four MEO communication satellites
VS 19 7 November 2018 3:47 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-M Success MetOp-C Polar-orbiting meteorological satellite
VS 20 19 December 2018 16:37 Soyuz-STA/Fregat-M Success CSO-1 French military Earth observation satellite
VS 21 27 February 2019 21:37 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-M Success OneWeb F6 Six test satellites for the OneWeb constellation
VS 22 4 April 2019 17:03 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-M Success O3b F5 Four MEO communication satellites
VS 23 18 December 2019 05:54 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-M Success CHEOPS
Space telescope
Earth observation satellite
VS 24 02 December 2020 01:33 Soyuz-STA/Fregat-M Success FalconEye-2 Reconnaissance satellite
VS 25 29 December 2020 16:42 Soyuz-STA/Fregat-M Success CSO-2 Reconnaissance satellite
VS 26 5 December 2021 00:19 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT Success Galileo FOC-9 Navigation satellites
VS 27 10 February 2022 18:09 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT Success OneWeb F13 34 communications satellites

Scheduled flights

This section is transcluded from Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre. (edit | history)



  1. ^ "Soyuz in Guiana". Enjoy Space. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Soyuz / Launch vehicles". ESA. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Overview". Soyuz launch site. Arianespace. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Installation of the Soyuz launch system begins at Europe's Spaceport". Soyuz & Vega at the Spaceport. Arianespace. 19 February 2009. Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Supporting Arianespace's mission cadence: A new fueling facility is ready". Paris: Space Daily. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Russia halts Soyuz launches from French Guiana". 26 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Soyuz flight VS01 Lifts Off From French Guiana". Spaceref. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Six defense satellites launched by Soyuz rocket". Spaceflight Now. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Soyuz ST-B launches Galileo twins successfully to orbit". NASA Spaceflight.com. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Arianespace Soyuz ST-A successfully launches Pleiades 1B". NASA Spaceflight.com. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  11. ^ ""The journey begins" with a lift from Arianespace: O3b Networks' first four satellites are in orbit". Arianespace. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  12. ^ "ESA's Gaia space observatory takes to the sky". Spaceflight Insider. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  13. ^ Graham, William; Bergin, Chris (3 April 2014). "Arianespace Soyuz ST-A launches Sentinel-1A mission". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Arianespace launches O3b satellites on Soyuz mission" (Press release). Kourou: Arianespace. 10 July 2014. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Galileo satellites experience orbital injection anomaly on Soyuz launch: Initial report" (Press release). Kourou: Arianespace. 23 August 2014. Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Arianespace launch a success, orbiting four more satellites in the O3b constellatio" (Press release). Kourou: Arianespace. 18 December 2014. Archived from the original on 16 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Arianespace successfully launches two satellites in the Galileo constellation" (Press release). Kourou: Arianespace. 27 March 2015. Archived from the original on 15 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Arianespace's latest Galileo mission a success: With Soyuz launch of two satellites, Arianespace has now deployed one-third of the constellation" (Press release). Kourou: Arianespace. 11 September 2015. Archived from the original on 18 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Arianespace's Latest Galileo Mission A Success: Soyuz Launcher Orbits Two More Satellites In The Constellation". Arianespace. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.

Coordinates: 5°18′07″N 52°50′04″W / 5.301861°N 52.834582°W / 5.301861; -52.834582