June 3, 2022

Launch centres

Ariane, Soyuz and Vega each have a launch centre that can be compared to a cockpit, but on the ground. It has equipment to remotely control operations on the rocket and its launch zone. From here, an operations manager communicates with the Jupiter room, which acts as a control tower.

Real “bunkers”

Located close to the launch pad, the Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz launch centres are installed in hardened shelters. They can withstand the fall of about 10 tonnes of fragments.

Launch centre No. 3: Ariane 5, Vega and soon Ariane 6

Vue aérienne du Centre de lancement d'Ariane 5

Vue aérienne du Centre de lancement n°3
 Aerial view of Launch centre No. 3
From CDL 3, 2.5 km from the Ariane 5 launch zone, in the room dedicated to the heavy launcher, a hundred or so people monitor the systems and operations for the lift-off.
The Vega launch centre is located in the same building as that of Ariane 5, but in a control room specific to the small launcher.
For Ariane 6, it was decided to opt for pooling by adapting the CDL 3 facilities. There are two control rooms so that two launch campaigns can be carried out simultaneously, one for ELA-3 and Ariane 5, and one for ELA-4 and Ariane 6. Advances in information technology and the simplified deployment of the Ariane 6 launcher have made it possible to reduce the number of control benches (computers) from four for ELA 3 to one for ELA 4.

 

Soyouz launch centre

Opérations en cours au centre de lancement Soyouz

Opérations en cours au centre de lancement Soyouz
 Operations underway at the Soyuz launch centre
On the Soyuz launch complex, operations are controlled from a dedicated launch centre, located 1 km from the launch pad.
Since March 2022, the Soyuz CDL has been non-operational following the suspension of Russian launches at the GSC.

Vega-C launch centre

Pandora, le centre de lancement de Vega

Pandora, le centre de lancement de Vega C
 Pandora, the Vega-C launch centre

Unlike the Vega launch centre, the Vega-C launch centre  is located in the Technical Centre. This location, far from the Vega launch pad, was chosen for safety reasons due to the extreme power of the new Vega-C booster.