Thursday 7 December, CNES’s Board of Directors met for its 353rd session at the agency’s Head Office. The meeting approved resolutions concerning France’s contribution to ESA’s JUICE mission (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) and draft industrial contracts for the Guiana Space Centre.
The Board gave the go-ahead for France’s contribution to JUICE, an L-class (large) mission of ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme covering the 2015-2025 period. Selected in 2012 by the agency’s Science Programme Committee (SPC), JUICE intends to send a satellite to Jupiter to study the habitability and mechanisms of the Jovian system (Jupiter and its magnetosphere and moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto). France is closely involved in the mission through several research laboratories (IAS, IRAP, LATMOS, LERMA, LESIA, LPC2E, LPP and IPAG), which are working notably to develop instruments and on its science side. It is working on six of the mission’s instruments and is principal investigator for the Moon And Jupiter Imaging Spectrometer (MAJIS). JUICE is set to focus on the first two themes of Cosmic Vision, i.e., ‘Life and Habitability in the Solar System’ and ‘from the Sun to the Edge of the Solar System’. It will also probe Jupiter’s atmosphere and environment as the archetype of giant planets in the solar system and elsewhere in the universe. Scheduled to depart in June 2022, JUICE will be the most-distant solar-system mission that ESA has ever launched.
The Board also voted a resolution concerning the renewal of several industrial contracts for the Guiana Space Centre (CSG). In particular, these contracts cover the maintenance of technical facilities at the CSG and launch operations support services for the 2018-2024 period. The contracts are awarded for seven years from 1 January 2018, with an optional two-year extension, after a European competitive bidding process in compliance with public procurement procedures and CNES’s obligations towards ESA, notably in terms of geographic return.