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UAE-France Reaffirm Space Cooperation, Model for Modern Collaboration

Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES (left, foreground) and H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency (right, foreground), sign their latest Memorandum of Understanding in Dubai, witnessed by H.E. Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France (left, background) and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Photograph courtesy of the UAE Space Agency.

The working relationship between the UAE and France is a model of space cooperation in the 21st century, and their collaboration is now expanding to include space medicine research for UAE’s astronaut programme, as well as ongoing partnership on projects relating to climate change and Mars exploration.

CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Director of Launch Vehicles Jean-Marc Astorg were in Abu Dhabi last week to attend the Global Aerospace Summit. At the event, they spoke about the role of space agencies and the future of launchers in a constantly shifting landscape.

On the sidelines of the summit, Jean-Yves Le Gall also met with Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), to discuss topics of interest to France and the UAE.

In the field of human spaceflight, CNES and UAESA are continuing to work together with a view to leveraging the expertise of CNES’s MEDES health subsidiary and the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations. To this end, Emirati scientists will be taking part in a space medicine research campaign at MEDES this September.

France and the United Arab Emirates have been working closely together for several years now on strategic, institutional and commercial space matters. In particular, they are playing a pivotal role in tackling climate change, as at the One Planet Summit that laid the foundations for the establishment of a Space Climate Observatory (SCO). During the French Prime Minister’s official visit to the United Arab Emirates in February, CNES and UAESA signed an agreement to develop a joint hyperspectral imaging satellite. The first joint workshop is scheduled at the Toulouse Space Centre this month to move forward with this mission.

CNES’s President also talked about Mars exploration, saying that “exploration of the red planet represents a great challenge for humankind that will help us to gain new insights into the history and future of the solar system. This endeavour has strong political significance in bringing together different cultures and helping to ease political tensions.”

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