Satellite Images of the World's Spaceports

Written by:
Harry Stranger
Where to get free satellite imagery in 2024

Without spaceports the satellite imagery industry wouldn't exist, literally! Particularly in the last 10 years we have seen a massive growth in this sector.

One of the most common categories of payloads launched into orbit is for Earth observation - with vast applications ranging from defense (yes spy satellites!) through to Earth resource management and climate change analysis. 

There is so much that goes into the process of getting these missions off the ground and into orbit that we wanted to use some of these in-space assets to look at the places they left Earth. Spaceports. Earth's gateways to space. 

So, in this blog I want to share satellite images of spaceports around the world that were taken by the Sentinel-2 satellites.

Kennedy Space Center & Cape Canaveral, USA

One of the most, if not the most, iconic and well-known spaceports in the world. Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station have been home to thousands of rocket launches. All humans to go to The Moon thus far have launched from here, as well as some of the most important scientific missions the world has ever seen including NASA’s Mars rovers, Hubble Space Telescope, Voyager missions to the outer solar system, Parker Solar Probe towards The Sun, and many more. The spaceport is now expanding to support the growing commercial space industry.

A Sentinel-2 satellite image of Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral launch sites

Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is another one of the most historically significant spaceports in the world, second to only Kennedy Space Center & Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Baikonur is the home to the first orbital rocket launch, the first human spaceflight, the first spacewalk, the first missions to The Moon and more. Nowadays Baikonur serves as one of Russia’s three spaceports.

A Sentinel-2 satellite image of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

Guiana Space Center, French Guiana

The Guiana Space Center (Center Spatial Guyanais or CSG) is a French and European spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana, South America. The first suborbital launch from the Guiana Space Center took place in 1975, with the first orbital launch in 1979. Throughout the years the spaceport has supported launches of many earth observation and space science missions.

A Sentinel-2 satellite image of Guiana Space Center launch sites in the French Guiana

Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

Located on Tanegashima Island, Japan, Tanegashima Space Center is Japan’s primary orbital launch site. Tanegashima Space Center has been noted for its picturesque location, often being referred to as one of the most beautiful launch sites in the world, and we can’t disagree. The space center has supported missions ranging from communications satellites to interplanetary spacecraft, and other space science missions.

A Sentinel-2 satellite image of the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan

Wenchang Space Launch Site, China

Wenchang Space Launch Site, located on Hainan Island in southern China has increasingly become a critical asset in China’s space industry. The spaceport is fairly new compared to most others on this list and is currently China’s only coastal launch site. Construction began in 2007 with the first launch taking place in 2016 with the launch of the Long March 7 rocket which carried a scale model of the country’s next-generation crewed spacecraft. The spaceport is currently being expanded to accommodate commercial missions in the growing market.

A Sentinel-2 satellite image of the Wenchang Space Launch Site in China

Semnan Space Center, Iran

Found near the city of Semnan, Iran, the Semnan Space Center, also known as the Imam Khomeini Space Center, is an Iranian space launch facility operated since 2009. The first orbital launch from this site took place in 2009, which also placed Iran’s first domestically-built satellite, Omid, into orbit. In years since the first launch, Iran has continued to launch missions which included placing communication and earth observation satellites into Earth orbit.

A Sentinel-2 satellite image of the Semnan Space Center in Iran

Mahia Spaceport, New Zealand

The Mahia Spaceport, also known as Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, is another relatively new space launch facility located on the Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. The spaceport operated by Rocket Lab, a manufacturer of rockets and in-space hardware, became the first private spaceport in the world to host an orbital launch in 2018. The unique location of the launch site allows missions to run into less interference from air & sea traffic compared to other launch sites around the world.

A Sentinel-2 satellite image of Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 at the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand