Thierry Mandon was in Toulouse today for an official visit highlighting the virtuous model of cooperation that Toulouse has succeeded in building between research, innovation and industrial development. The Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research met the people behind the city’s successful and promising scientific and economic development, taking in university departments working on the discoveries of tomorrow, firms innovating in the fields of biotechnologies and satellites, a commemoration to mark the 30th anniversary of the SPOT satellites, and the Toulouse Space Centre (CST).
CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and CST Director Marc Pircher gave Thierry Mandon a presentation on the MicroCarb carbon-monitoring satellite, for which the go-ahead for development was announced at the COP 21 climate conference. Thierry Mandon then visited the French Instrument Mars Operation Centre (FIMOC) that is operating the two scientific instruments on the Curiosity rover that has been surveying the surface of Mars since 6 August 2012.
The official visit continued at the Cité de l’espace space theme park for a commemoration marking the 30th anniversary of the SPOT series of satellites and 30 years of innovation that have spawned an exceptional ecosystem devoted to Earth observation. On this occasion, Thierry Mandon reaffirmed the role of the space industry and its applications, citing as an example the CoSpace government-industry space coordination committee’s Boosters label recently awarded to the Toulouse-based Aerospace Valley competitiveness cluster. Jean-Yves Le Gall recalled that SPOT, the first ever European Earth-observation programme, was initiated by France in 1977 and paved the way for the development of France’s Earth-observation satellite industry.
After the visit, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “On 22 February 1986, Ariane sent aloft SPOT 1 from the Guiana Space Centre. Since that milestone launch, CNES has guided the development of a unique series of Earth-observation satellites. It has built up a significant heritage on which we will now be drawing through MicroCarb and MERLIN, two distant descendants of SPOT at the cutting edge of innovation and inspiration, to help implement the decisions reached at the COP 21 conference.”