EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY,S. CORVAJA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY,S. CORVAJA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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ELS launch pad, Guiana Space Centre. The Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz (ELS) or Soyuz Launch Complex is located at France's Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana and is used by the European Space Agency. The first scheduled launches here will use Soyuz-2 rockets to deploy the first two Galileo IOV satellites on 20 October 2011. The rocket and payload are prepared using a Mobile Service Tower (centre left). Four tall metal towers protect against lightning strikes, and there is a flame pit under the umbilical arms (blue and yellow) that enclose the rocket. Construction took place from 2007 to 2011.
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