Ariane 5, the spearhead of the European space programme, has been launched from the GSC since 1996. Scalable and capable of carrying up to 21 tonnes into low Earth orbit, Ariane 5 is suitable for all types of mission, from geostationary communications satellites to the distant orbits of probes exploring the universe
The legendary Russian launcher, Soyuz, joined the GSC’s range of launchers in 2011, as a result of close cooperation between the European and Russian space agencies. In the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, its operation has been suspended since March 2022.
Europe’s light launcher, Vega is particularly well suited for missions targeting polar or low Earth orbits, such as Earth observation satellites.
Launchers under development
Ariane 6, the latest addition to the Ariane family, is flexible, and can be adapted to payload capacities and target orbits.
The successor to Vega for launching lightweight satellites, Vega C shares some common components with Ariane 6.