Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, met for a status check on the development of the two nations’ cooperation in space. The meeting was hosted by the French ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, at the French embassy in Moscow on 14 February 2020.
The discussions centred on the continued use of the Soyuz launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, collaboration on space medicine research, Earth observation for monitoring climate change, and possible cooperation in conducting experiments on the Moon.
The two agency heads exchanged their impressions with regard to the latest successes of their partnership, with the orbiting by a Soyuz launcher on 18 December 2019 from the Guiana Space Centre of four payloads: CosmoSkyMed Second Generation for the Italian space agency (ASI) and the Italian Ministry of Defence, CHEOPS for the European Space Agency (ESA), ANGELS and EyeSat for CNES and OPS-SAT for the operator Tyvak, on behalf of its customer, the ESA. Soyuz thus accomplished its 23rd mission from the Guiana Space Centre, its third launch in 2019 and the ninth flight of the year in all from the launch facility.
Le Gall and Rogozin then turned their attention to ongoing and future projects, particularly in the field of life sciences to prepare for deep space exploration missions with the joint Bion-M2/MTB 2 plan to study the combined biological effects of the space environment and returning to Earth on the human body and certain organs (at system, cell, and molecular levels). They also addressed French scientific confinement experiments to be conducted for the Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station-20 (SIRIUS-20) project, in collaboration with the Russian space medicine institute, Institut Mediko-Biologicheskikh Problem (IMBP). Continued cooperation between CNES and IMBP in physiology with Cardiomed, the first phase of which was recently completed on 3 February 2020, was also discussed with a view to engaging further studies, notably on cerebral circulation, myocardial remodeling, and paravertebral discs.
The meeting concluded by looking ahead to future cooperation in various domains, such as the fight against climate change with the deployment of the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), the continued operation of Soyuz launch vehicles from the Guiana Space Centre, and space exploration – in particular to conduct experiments from the lunar surface.