A delegation from the French national space agency, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) attended the third Global Space Congress (GSC) held in Abu Dhabi from 19 to 21 March 2019, organized by the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) under the high patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai.
The GSC brings together a broad array of regional and international space players, with heads of space agencies and representatives of industry, satellite operators, academia and users from all over the world.
On this occasion, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall took part in the heads of agencies panel on “Building a Global Space Programme.” On the question of how collaborative space exploration projects will further our understanding of the Universe, he stressed that they are motivated by searching for possible traces of life and gaining new knowledge of how planets formed and evolved, to give us greater insight into Earth and its climate with a view to tackling climate change more effectively. As an illustration, he pointed to the many successes accomplished by CNES in 2018, such as the InSight mission to Mars.
Jean-Yves Le Gall also addressed the question of how established space agencies can best support emerging partners, who have grown in number over the last decade. He underlined CNES’s role in this respect, particularly in the field of Earth-observation satellite data supporting efforts to preserve the environment. Lastly, he emphasized the need to sustain space budgets, as France is doing as the second-ranking nation in the world with a per capita civil space budget of €36.
On the sidelines of this panel session, CNES’s President met Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of UAESA, to discuss ongoing and future projects on which France and the UAE are working together.
In his capacity as President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), Jean-Yves Le Gall also presented the International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2020) to be held in the UAE in October 2020. He underlined the IAF’s key role federating scientists, academia, representatives of space agencies and the space industry with the aim of promoting diversity in the space sector, in line with the principles of ‘3G’—for Gender, Generation and Geography. The federation’s motto—‘Connecting @ll space people’—reflects its determination to build bridges between established and emerging space powers, and to welcome new players into the fold.