Rocket launch site

Rocket launch site

A rocket launch site or launch complex is a facility at which rocket launches are conducted. It has usually one or more launch pads or suitable sites to mount a transportable launch pad. For launch vehicles with liquid propellant, suitable storage facilities and, in some cases, production facilities are necessary. On-site processing facilities for solid propellants are also common. A launch site usually has an associated rocket range, which covers a much larger area than the launch site, over which the rockets are expected to fly.


A rocket launch site is built as far as possible away from major population centers in order to mitigate risk to bystanders should a rocket experience a catastrophic failure. In many cases a launch site is built close to major bodies of water to ensure that no components are shed over populated areas.

Orbital launch vehicle sites for satellites and interplanetary probes are called spaceports. The best known spaceports are Cape Canaveral in Florida, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Russia's Baikonur in Kazakhstan and Kourou in French Guyana. Spaceports are usually constructed as close to the equator as possible, as launching near Earth's equator allows rockets launching eastbound to receive extra velocity from Earth's rotation, allowing them to potentially carry a greater payload.

In Europe, outside of Russia, there are only launch sites for suborbital rockets. Andøya Rocket Range, Esrange and Salto di Quirra are the most important.

While Germany currently possesses no launch sites due to its relatively small size and high population density, prior to 1945 the Nazi German government utilized several launch sites in continental Europe. These were: from 1936 to 1945, Peenemünde, for flight tests of the A4-ballistic missile; from 1957 to 1964, the mud-flats near Cuxhaven, where the Hermann Oberth society and the Berthold-Seliger-Forschungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft launched many rocket designs as the Kumulus and the Cirrus; and from 1988 to 1992, in Zingst, where there was a launch site for Russian vehicles of the type MMR06-M. In the 1970s Poland launched suborbital sounding rockets of the type Meteor from military training camps near Łeba and Ustka.

Launch sites for orbital launch vehicles

* Alcântara (Brazil)
* Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan)
* Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (USA)
* Gando (Spain, Gran Canaria)
* Hammaguir (Algeria, no longer operational)
* Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (China)
* Kapustin Yar (Russia)
* Kennedy Space Center (USA)
* Kodiak Launch Center (USA, Alaska)
* Kourou (French Guiana)
* Kwajalein (USA, Atoll in the Pacific)
* Palmachim (Israel)
* Plesetsk (Russia)
* Point Arguello (USA)
* San Marco Platform (Italy, in the Indian Ocean)
* Sea Launch Platform (USA, in the Pacific Ocean)
* Sriharikota (India)
* Svobodny (Russia)
* Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (China)
* Tanegashima Space Center (Japan)
* Uchinoura Space Center near Kagoshima (Japan)
* Vandenberg Air Force Base (USA)
* Wallops Island (USA)
* Wenchang Satellite Launch Center (China)
* Woomera (Australia)
* Xichang Satellite Launch Center (China)

Launch sites for suborbital rockets in Europe

* Aberporth (UK)
* Andøya Rocket Range (Norway)
* Biscarrosse (France)
* El Arenosillo (Spain)
* Esrange (Sweden)
* Ile de Levant (France)
* Nenoksa (Russia)
* Salto di Quirra (Italy)
* South Uist (UK)
* SvalRak (Norway)

Abandoned launch sites in Europe

* Blizna (Poland)
* Cuxhaven (Germany)
* Karystos (Greece)
* Łeba (Poland)
* Kronogård (Sweden)
* Marka (Norway)
* Peenemünde/Greifswalder Oie (Germany)
* Tuchola Forest (Poland)
* Ustka (Poland)
* Vik (Iceland)
* Zingst (Germany)

Launch sites for suborbital rockets in Asia

* Akita (Japan)
* Al Anbar (Iraq)
* Anhueng (South Korea)
* Balasore(India)
* Dombarovskiy (Russia)
* Emamshahr (Iran)
* Gan Island (Maldives)
* Gohueng (South Korea, under construction)
* Haikou (China)
* Hama-Allepo (Syria)
* Harbin (China)
* Jingyu (China)
* Kheysa (Russia)
* Lapan Space Center, Tjulitan (Indonesia)
* Musudan-ri (North Korea)
* Negev (Israel)
* Niijima (Japan)
* Obachi (Japan)
* Qom (Iran)
* Ryori (Japan)
* Sary Shagan (Russia)
* Sriharikota (India)
* Shijiedu (China)
* Sonmiani (Pakistan)
* Thumba (India)
* Tilla (Pakistan)

Launch sites for suborbital rockets in Africa

* Overberg (South Africa)
* Reggane (Algeria)
* Seba Oasis (Libya)
* Shaba North (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Launch sites for suborbital rockets in Oceania

* Birdling's Flat (New Zealand)
* Woomera (Australia)

Launch sites for suborbital rockets in North America

* Arecibo (Puerto Rico)
* Black Mesa (USA)
* Charlestown, Rhode Island (USA)
* Com Range (USA)
* Datil (USA)
* Eareckson (USA, Aleut islands)
* Eglin Air Force Base (USA)
* Fort Bliss (USA)
* Fort Churchill (Canada)
* Fort Greely (Alaska)
* Fort Wingate (USA)
* Gilson Butte (USA)
* Green River (USA)
* Holloman (USA)
* Keweenaw (USA)
* Mercury (USA)
* Mojave Spaceport (USA)
* Nevada Test Site (USA)
* North Truro Air Force Station (USA)
* Point Barrow(Alaska)
* Point Mugu (USA)
* Poker Flat Research Range (Alaska)
* Primrose Lake (Canada)
* Ramey (Puerto Rico)
* Red Lake (Canada)
* Resolute Bay (Canada)
* San Clemente (USA, California)
* San Nicolas Island(USA, California)
* Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA
* Sierra de Juarez (Mexico)
* Tonopah Test Range (USA)
* Upham (USA)
* White Sands (USA)

Launch sites for suborbital rockets in South America

* Alcântara (Brazil)
* CELPA (Peru)
* Chilca (Peru)
* Las Palmas (Argentina)
* Mar Chiquita (Argentina)
* Natal (Brazil)
* Punta Lobos (Peru)
* Villa Reynolds (Argentina)

Launch sites for suborbital rockets in polar regions and islands far away from continents

* Ascension Island (Atlantic island)
* Barking Sands (Pacific island)
* Bikini Atoll (Atoll in the Pacific, launches in conjunction with nuclear bomb tests)
* Dumont d'Urville (Antarctica)
* Eniwetok (Atoll in the Pacific, launches in conjunction with nuclear bomb tests)
* Johnston Atoll (Pacific island)
* Kerguelen (South Pacific island)
* Kindley Air Force Base (Bermuda islands)
*Molodyozhnaya (Antarctica)
* Sondre Stromfjord (Greenland)
* Syowa Base (Antarctica)
* SvalRak (Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Norway, operated by And%C3%B8ya_Rocket_Range)
* Wake Island (Pacific island)

Launch sites used for rockets with low maximum altitude (<10 km)

* Kummersdorf, Germany (1933)
* Hespenbusch, Großenkneten, Germany (1952-1957)
* Kaltbrunn, Switzerland (Rocketry of ARGOS)
* Rocket Launch Site Berlin, Berlin-Tegel, Germany (1930-1934)
* Sauwald, Germany ( former launch site for rockets for lightning research near Füssen)
* Kepler Launch Site, Weil der Stadt

External links

* [ Übersicht über alle Raketenstartplätze (auch inzwischen geschlossene) der Welt]
* [ Beschreibung und Karte von Cape Canaveral]
* [ Beschreibung und Karte von Baikonur]
* [ Beschreibung und Karte von Kourou]
* [ Raketenstartplatz Kiruna]
* [ Homepage von Esrange]
* [ Raketenstartplatz Salto di Quirra]
* [ Beschreibung und Karte von Peenemünde]
* [ Die Raketenversuche von Cuxhaven]
* [ Die Raketenstarts in Zingst]

ee also

* List of spaceports

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