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Russia And France Celebrate Historic Space Cooperation Ties

Image courtesy of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The head of the French national space agency, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), Jean-Yves Le Gall, spoke at the French-Russian seminar organized by GIFAS, the French aerospace industries association, at the Espace Hamelin in Paris on 30 January 2019.

President Le Gall kicked off the round table session on ‘The stakes of French-Russian space cooperation’ in the presence of Oleg Frolov, Deputy Director General of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Nicolas Chamussy, Chair of GIFAS’s Space Commission. This seminar comes under the umbrella of the Russian space industry’s mission in France.

Jean-Yves Le Gall began by retracing the exceptional and historic space cooperation initiated in 1966 between France and the Soviet Union by President Charles de Gaulle, which remains a cornerstone of the two nations’ relations today. In this respect, CNES and Roscosmos signed a new agreement in 2018 defining the framework for cooperation in the field of space science, a key milestone lending extra impetus to this institutional and industrial partnership. CNES’s President also underlined the success of joint French-Russian efforts, confirmed not only through their Earth-observation and telecommunications satellite programmes but also through their scientific accomplishments in astronomy, planetary exploration, human spaceflight and space medicine, as well as the Cospas-Sarsat search-and-rescue programme to which the two nations are active contributors.

President Le Gall then illustrated the fruitful partnership between the two space agencies, notably in the domain of launchers, pointing to the 26 flights completed by Soyuz from Baikonur and its 20 flights from the Guiana Space Centre.

CNES’s President also hailed the remarkable collaboration between CNES and Roscosmos, notably on the Phebus ultraviolet spectrometer designed to study Mercury’s exosphere on ESA’s BepiColombo mission, and on the next mission of Russia’s Bion-M2 capsule that will be carrying the MTB-2 instrument (Mouse Telemetry for Bion-M2) developed by CNES.

After the round table, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “These gatherings and industry visits organized by GIFAS are a great opportunity to step up our cooperation in an international landscape marked by the emergence of ever more space players and increasing commercial competition. I would like to express my warmest thanks to the French and Russian contractors in attendance here today, who are the artisans of our two nations’ successful space cooperation.”

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