Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of the French national space agency – the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), opened the International Affairs Seminar at the agency’s head office in Paris on 13 May 2019.
This event, aimed principally at the French space industry, is designed to present a panorama of space activities around the globe and review the status of CNES’s collaborative projects with its international partners. Space geopolitics, CNES’s international strategy and its partnerships with established and emerging space nations were among the topics addressed throughout the day-long event.
CNES’s international activities are fuelling the entire French space ecosystem, a vital task in a fast-shifting global context being driven by increasing numbers of institutional and commercial players as a result of cheaper access to space and the lever effect of space applications on government policies. The emergence of New Space is also making it possible to do more, faster and cheaper, supporting this rapid development of the space sector.
In this context, CNES’s international partnerships are key to adapting to the new world of space, enabling the agency to remain a pivotal player by:
– Pursuing ambitious projects, notably in science, that it could not otherwise have undertaken alone, for example in ocean altimetry with the United States or on the many Martian missions in which it is involved;
– Promoting its reputation for excellence and the expertise of French industry all over the world;
– Highlighting within the French space landscape, through a mirror effect, the major successes to which it is contributing.
At the crossroads of this new international scene and the agency’s programmatic priorities, two types of international partner and three main areas of cooperation stand out. CNES is working on historic and foundational endeavours with leading space players like the United States, China, Russia, India, Japan and Germany, as well as with new entrants looking to use space as a means to irrigate their societies and economies. The United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Morocco, Vietnam and Israel have also turned to CNES as a partner of choice. These two types of partnership are giving a great boost to the three priorities of France’s space programme: climate, exploration and innovation.
At the opening of the seminar, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented, “The success of CNES’s international activities concerns all of us. Team success is built on the complementary roles of everyone involved: agency directorates, research laboratories, competitiveness clusters, manufacturers and government bodies. It’s by working together that all of these players will help us to continue flying the flag for French space.”