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France And Indian State of Kerala To Cooperate Developing New Space Ecosystems

India and Sri Lanka as seen from low-Earth orbit. The daylight panorama was taken by the crew of the Gemini 11 spacecraft (September 1966) and shows coastlines and land surface color, but no details of human geography. This classic view was taken on an early space flight at a similar altitude to that of the ISS. Patterns of bright white cloud cover much of the land surfaces of India and Sri Lanka. Photograph courtesy of NASA.

On the occasion of the meetings between CNES’s Directorate of Innovation, Applications and Science (DIA) and the Government of Kerala, India, on 16, 17 and 18 May 2019, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), through its Connect-by-CNES programme (CbC), and the Kerala Start-Up Mission (KSUM) signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to foster collaboration between French and Indian innovation ecosystems in the domain of New Space.

Through this LoI, CNES and KSUM are signalling their shared interest in creating a French-Indian ‘cross-border’ ecosystem in which entrepreneurs and start-ups from each nation will benefit from tools and services made available by CbC and KSUM, notably to:

  • Give CNES and its partners access to the network of Indian start-ups, including the Kerala Space Park (KSP);
  • Enable KSUM to showcase products and services developed on CNES’s platforms;
  • Share knowledge and expertise with firms operating in the France-India network;
  • Assist French and Indian start-ups in gaining access to new markets and potential investors in France and India, while taking care not to directly compete with French or Indian entities working on similar products or services.

CNES set up its new Directorate of Innovation, Applications and Science (DIA) in 2016 with the mission to open up the agency to the outside world, encourage technology exchange and stay attuned to users’ needs. The agency is thus sponsoring technology spin-off to fuel disruptive innovation and drive economic development through the use of space solutions, the challenge being to integrate and federate new players, show them the benefits of space solutions and ultimately bring them into the real economy. At the end of 2017, CNES launched its Connect-by-CNES programme to forge close ties with innovation communities and make space technologies and solutions central to the businesses of enterprises of all sizes.

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