ESA Kourou Station
ESA Station Diane
Boite Postal No. 27
97310 Kourou Cedex
About the Kourou Station
The Kourou S- and X-band station, also known as 'Kourou 93', is located 27 km from the town of Kourou and 90 km from Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, in South America. The station site is 19 km from the Centre Spatiale Guyanais (CSG), Europe's Spaceport. It is used to communicate with XMM-Newton for routine operations, and for the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) — or for backup — for other missions.
The station hosts a 15m dish antenna that transmits and receives signals in S- and X-band wavelengths, plus facilities for tracking, telemetry, telecommand and radiometric measurements (ranging, Doppler, meteo). There is also a 1.3–metre dish mounted on the side of the 15m dish as an X–band acquisition aid.
The Kourou station can also provide system validation testing of satellites during final checkout in the assembly building or when installed on the launcher (it is sited just a few kilometres from the CSG launch areas and satellites can communicate over the air directly to the station prior to launch). For example, the station was used to validate communications with ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Johannes Kepler prior to its launch in February 2011.
The station has a MASER (Microwave Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) frequency and timing system as well as a monitoring and control system. Communications are enabled via the ESA Operations Network (OPSNET) managed by ESOC. The site is also equipped with a no-break power plant.