French Guiana “The Space Centre”

Arianespace was founded in 1980 as the world’s first satellite launch company. Its shareholders include French space agency CNES, Astrium, and all the European space companies, which together represent 10 European countries. On 1st July 2012, the company had a total of 315 employees between corporate headquarters in Evry, the Uiana Space Centre in Kourou (CSG), launch site for Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and at local offices in Washington DC, Singapore and Tokyo.
Since its creation, Arianespace has signed contracts with 80 customers and has carried out 207 Ariane launches (for a total of 303 payloads including more than half of the commercial satellites now in service worldwide), 26 Soyuz launches (2 at CSG and 24 at Baikonur in Kazakhstan via its joint subsidiary with Russia, Starsem) and the first launch of Vega. In 2011, Arianespace recorded revenues of 1,013 million Euros.
On July 5, 2012 Ariane 5, the EchoStar XVII and MSG-3 passengers were deployed into geostationary transfer orbit during a 34-minute flight. Total payload lift performance was approximately 9,640 kg., which included the combined mass of the EchoStar XVII and MSG-3 spacecraft, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware. EchoStar XVII is a Space Systems/Loral-built 1300-series satellite platform, and is to be operated by Hughes Network Systems delivering broadband services fof geostationary orbit to consumers, businesses and government customers across North America.
MSG-3 is a weather observation spacecraft for EUMETSAT (the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites). Produced by a Thales Alenia Space-led consortium, MSG-3 will operate in geostationary orbit providing detailed images of Europe, Africa and the North Atlantic for use by meteorologists and national weather forecasters. The security around the Kourou’s Guiana Space center, which has been operating since 1979, is provided by the French Foreign Legion who controls the area of the space port which is larger then the city of Paris and the size of Martinique Island.