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ESA and CNES signs MoU to Support SpaceFounders

ESA and CNES signing the MoU. Credit: SpaceFounders

Ibadan, 3 July 2023. – The National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding, marking ESA’s support of the SpaceFounders program. This strategic alliance sends a strong signal about the increasing dialogue and proximity between leading space institutions and startups, a significant step towards a more robust and more innovative European space industry.

SpaceFounders, the joint initiative of CNES and the University of the German Armed Forces (UniBW), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), is a European startup acceleration initiative. It champions the growth of innovative SpaceTech startups. Furthermore, partners such as the German Space Agency (DLR), Airbus Defence & Space, Thales Alenia Space, Beyond Gravity, and ESA have bolstered the program.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding, ESA will actively contribute to several key areas of the SpaceFounders program. This includes startup selection, program content enrichment, visibility expansion across member states, event co-organization, and investor and industrial customer network engagement.

ESA’s Director of Commercialisation, Industry, and Competitiveness, Geraldine Naja, commented about its prospects, saying, “SpaceFounders has emerged as the premier and leading SpaceTech accelerator in Europe. We’ve stood by and bolstered the program from the inception, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect to finally formalize our collaboration and efforts.”

The next SpaceFounders batch, starting from September to December 2023, will significantly benefit from ESA’s diverse initiatives. Likewise, by the year-end, SpaceFounders aims to include 40 alumni, all CEOs of rapidly growing European Newspace startups, thus solidifying Europe’s most engaged community in the sector.

In addition, Lucie Campagnolo, CEO of SpaceFounders France, echoed these sentiments: “ESA’s involvement represents an exciting chapter in our journey. Their expertise and resources will significantly enrich our offerings and accelerate our startups’ growth trajectories.”

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