A launch complex comprises all the ground infrastructure in which the assembly and integration of the various components of a launcher take place. These facilities are used to prepare the launcher for lift-off.
Within the launch complex is a large open area away from the launcher assembly infrastructure, and which includes a launch pad, storage areas, technical buildings and a launch centre to supervise the operations. This is the launch zone, from where the launcher lifts off.
Since its creation in 1964, the Guiana Space Centre has had nine launch complexes, three of which are currently operational.
Ariane 5 Launch Complex
The ELA-3 has been launching Ariane 5 since 1996. All launcher preparation operations take place here until lift-off.
Ariane 6 Launch Complex
This is the latest launch complex to spring up at the GSC, and brings together modern facilities to optimise the costs and lead times for preparing Ariane 6.
Vega Launch Complex
This launch complex, from which Vega and Vega-C launchers lift off, reuses some of the facilities of the Ariane 1, 2 and 3 launchers.
Past launch complexes
From sounding rockets to Diamant and on to Ariane 4 and Soyuz, the Guiana Space Centre has sent a number of launchers into space that are now retired. The experience gained from their launch complexes was used to build the ones currently in operation.