The French government has given CNES sole responsibility for executing the stimulus plan in support of the space sector. The subsidy agreement between the government and CNES sets out how this plan will be implemented by the agency and defines the type of actions, governance and provisions that will be applied.
The new subsidies provided under the space stimulus plan will be channelled in two directions. A budget envelope of €165 million for ESA’s launchers will give priority to industrial costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and to laying the groundwork for the launchers of tomorrow. An envelope of €200 million will be allocated to innovation in France, focused on ensuring speed of execution and actions that will have the most impact on the space sector. A steering committee composed of representatives from the Budget Directorate, the French enterprise agency (DGE), the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and the French research and innovation agency (DGRI) has been set up to advise on the plan’s implementation.
The annual report reviews progress made with respect to the key programmatic and operational objectives set out in CNES’s Objectives and Performance Contract (OPC), and the status of the indicators defined therein. The latest report is the last for the 2016-2020 period covered by the current government/agency OPC signed on 15 December 2015 by the Minister for Higher Education and Research, the Minister of Defence and the CNES President.
The assessment carried out in 2020 by the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES) on CNES’s actions over the last five years, which was especially positive, complements the agency’s annual reports for the 2016-2020 period. The actions conducted in response to the COVID-19 crisis illustrate the agency’s efforts to help the space sector cope with its effects. This last year of the current OPC thus marked a transition for the space sector, which through its resilience nevertheless succeeded in accomplishing most of its goals. In five years, the space sector, which is now reaching into every corner of our daily lives, has moved forward at a fast pace and CNES has been one of the main drivers of this evolution for the benefit of public policies and the development of industry.