Soyuz Rockets Prepare for Liftoff From New Spaceport
Photo: Photo by Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
The spaceport, located in Kourou, French Guiana is a suitable location for a launch site because of its weather conditions, lack of seismic activity and proximity to the equator, where the Earth's spin is felt. This gives launchers a so-called "slingshot effect," or energy boost from the Earth's rotation during take off.
The new Soyuz launch pad is located 7.5 miles northwest up the French Guiana coastline from the existing Ariane 5 launch complex.