Major Rocket Launch Sites
Launch Pads, Spaceports & Cosmodromes!
A spaceport (or cosmodrome) is a site for launching spacecraft into orbit around Earth on interplanetary trajectories and can include the launch complex infrastructure, storage facilities and possibly production factories. A spaceport may even include runways for the takeoff or landing winged launch vehicles such as the Space Shuttles, Buran or Dream Chaser vehicles!
Sites in Asia
- Jiuquan Satellite Launch, China – The first manned Chinese launch was made here in 2003.
- Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China – Launches the Long March rockets.
- Uchinoura Space Center (Kagoshima), Japan – Used for various satellites.
- Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), India - India’s rocket launch centre.
- Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan – The first location to achieve orbital flight of a satellite (1957 with Sputnik) and human flight in 1961 (Vostok 1).
- Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia – The new Russian spaceport to be complete in 2018 which is intended to reduce Russia's dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Center Sites in Europe
- Peenemünde, Germany – This is where the V-2 rockets (first to reach space) were launched from.
- Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia – Originally an ICBM site, but used for various orbital launches.
Sites in North America
- Cape Canaveral, Florida – NASA’s famous launch location for its Project Mercury and Project Gemini.
- Kennedy Space Center, Florida – NASA’s primary location for launching the Apollo, Space Shuttle and future manned flights.
- Mojave Air and Space Port, California – The private spaceport where Virgin Galactic operates.
- Vandenberg Air Force Base, California – Primarily used for military satellite launches such as Atlas, but also Falcon 9.
- Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) – Near Wallops Flight Facility where Orbital ATK launches Antares from.
Sites in South America
- Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana – The major European spaceport which launches satellites from the advantageous position near the equator (primarily with the Ariane 5).
Sites in Oceania
- Rocket Lab Launch Facility, Mahia, New Zealand – Launch location of the Electron rocket.
Launch Sites in the Pacific Ocean from the Odyssey mobile platform by Sea Launch of Zenit rockets!