During a visit to Vietnam by the French Prime Minister, Jean-Yves Le Gall, the President of the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), signed a number of agreements with Vietnamese counterparts covering the French-led Space Climate Observatory (SCO), STEM education, and maritime and oceanographic surveillance.
“The Prime Minister’s official visit to Vietnam has strengthened the space cooperation between our two nations in the areas of climate research and undergraduate training,” Le Gall commented. “Vietnam has trusted France for many years for its space programme: its two telecommunication satellites were orbited by Ariane 5 launchers and its Earth observation satellite was built in France and launched from the Guiana Space Centre. These latest agreements build on these previous achievements and lay a foundation for the successes ahead.”
Le Gall and Professor Chau Van Minh, President of VAST, signed a letter of intent on the role of space in climate research. This agreement formalizes their joint commitment to step up cooperation in this area through the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), launched at the One Planet Summit in Paris last December. The agreement also encourages closer collaboration between French and Vietnamese research teams.
The CNES President and Dinh Thi Mai Thanh, Associate Professor and Vice Rector of the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (USTH) signed a document extending a 2015 memorandum of understanding for collaboration in higher education, particularly to train Vietnamese students. This memorandum has enabled CNES engineers to contribute to courses on satellite technologies for students at USTH and offer internships with the agency to Vietnamese students. It has been extended for an additional three years.
Another agreement signed during the visit sets up an international research laboratory called LOTUS (Land Ocean atmosphere coupled System) through an institutional partnership between a panel of French scientific organizations and four Vietnamese institutes: USTH, the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (IMER), the Space Technology Institute (STI) and the Institute of Oceanography (IO). CNES will be involved in this initiative through its contribution to the science project led by the LEGOS space geophysics and oceanography research laboratory.
These three agreements step up French-Vietnamese space cooperation, following the framework agreement between CNES and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), signed during the French President’s state visit to Vietnam in 2016.