"Culmination of a magnificent partnership project"
For CNES President Yannick d’Escatha, Soyuz in Guiana is “a magnificent joint project, the culmination of France and Russia’s partnership in space over the last 40 years.”
Soyuz is a medium-lift launcher that will fill the gap between the Ariane 5 heavy-lift and Vega light launchers, thus rounding out Europe’s range of launch vehicles.
“This marks a new step in the great adventure that began 10 years ago […] and will be a key asset for our customers, shareholders and partners,” said Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall.
Soyuz in Guiana - Animation. Crédits : CNES
Laying of the Gagarin stone
The official groundbreaking ceremony was attended by many VIPs, including a 30-strong Russian delegation. Construction work at the French Guiana site has already been underway for several months, with the 1st Russian teams who will be erecting the launch pad’s metal infrastructures scheduled to arrive in Sinnamary by year end.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, a stone from the launch pad where Yuri Gagarin was lofted into space in 1961 was laid at the new site. After the 40th anniversary of French-Russian cooperation in 2006 and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the space era this year, this “Gagarin stone” symbolizes the future of a cooperative endeavour built on a solid heritage.