Guiana Space Centre in Kouru is today the undisputed center and heart of worldwide rocket launches after having recovered from the harsh disputes about possession with neighboring states after Doomsday.
Effects of Doomsday
Although believed a high-priority target for Soviet ICBM's the Space Centre in the overseas department (French: département d’outre-mer or DOM) of French Guiana surprisingly suffered no direct attack from nuclear devices. A Soviet ICBM was never launched. Still Doomsday took its toll, nonetheless:
- Due to the fallout and the massive EMP burst all communications with satellites failed and were lost immediately. Later new intents to initiate contact just succeeded with three satellites.
- Also the main communications installations failed and needed a long time to be repaired.
The 3rd Regiment of the French Foreign Legion (FFL), which guarded the facilities, managed to maintain order and fend off attackers, marauders and scavengers.
Race to Kourou, the Kourou Incident
Quickly, the neighboring states got word of the valuable installation surviving and rallied to gain their advantage in the supposed power vacuum.
A detachment of elite units from Brazil arrived on November 2nd, 1983. Stunned by the still-functioning defense of the French Foreign Legion, the Brazilians tried to take the installation by force. But after a short siege, the commanding officer of the Legion regiment demanded a ceasefire or threatened to destroy the whole installation. He also demanded official negotiations with the Brazilian government.
Three days later, the Brazilians retreated and an official emissary arrived. After long negotiations an agreement was made:
- Brazil agrees to recognized French sovereignty (or its provisional legitimate successor) of the French Guyana, specially Kourou and the Space Center.
- Kourou will maintain its status of French communes, but will be jointly policed by both parties.
- French Guyana would be put under military protection of Brazil. A Brazilian garrison of rapid tactical response troops will be stationed near the Space Centre and Kouru. A Joint Brazilian-French Foreign Legion Command will be set up, in charge of the defense of the zone.
- Access and free movement to the facilities of the Space Center for Brazilian scientists and technicians was granted. Along the establishment of a joint space research center.
- Customs control and passport check will be in charge of the FF, and
- Freedom of travel, communications and commerce for and within Kourou, along a guaranteed airlift and sea access. However air and sea patrol would be in charge of Brazil.
As soon as contact between the Republic of the French Southern Territories, Portugal and the Nordic Union had been re-established, the military forces were withdrawn and a joint European-Brazilian-French Foreign Legion security force was setup to guard the Space Center and the whole of French Guyana, now known as French Republic of Guyane.
1 January 2001: The first launch of the new-generation "Odyssey" rocket jointly built by several South American and European states is greeted worldwide as the beginning of a new era of space exploration, defined by mutual scientific cooperation rather than mostly military interests.