French Guiana: Rehabilitation of the hydraulic infrastructures of the Diamant launch pad

The Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)* is responsible for the management of the Guiana Space Center that features a European launch pad. This site currently handles the launch of 3 types of rockets: Ariane 5, Soyuz, and Vega, which are respectively heavy, medium, and low capacity launchers. 


Seureca has been working with the CNES since 2013 on various projects connected with water management. This has included the creation of a master plan for the drinking water and industrial water supply, consisting of a georadar survey of the networks, modeling, and a work program for the entire space complex. 


The CNES has recently been involved in refurbishing the Diamant sector, a former launch pad for space probes located at Kourou, adapting it to test future salvageable and reusable launchers. To this end, a detailed study was carried out by Seureca to assess the existing facilities, define future requirements for various launcher formats, and propose improvements to maximize the reuse of existing networks and equipment. 



Engineered by Seureca, the water deluge system that activates at lift-off was tested by the ESA** and CNES in April 2021. This system is used to protect ground installations from the launch’s very high temperatures generated by the engines and to break the vibratory wave. The flood water absorbs and shunts acoustic energy during takeoff, the vibratory wave reaching 180 decibels and otherwise liable to damage the launcher and its load. Over several seconds, the launch pad is drenched with some 800 m3 of water at a flow rate of more than 40 m3 / sec. 


See the conclusive test on video, above, and learn more about the system on the ESA’s website via this link : Ariane 6 launch pad water deluge system test.




*The French National Center for Space Studies (CNES): an industrial public institution responsible for the creation and development of the French space program. 



**The European Space Agency (ESA): an intergovernmental organization that coordinates space projects carried out jointly by some twenty European countries.