September 29, 2017

68th IAC comes to a close, french space embraces the new space paradigm

The 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) was held this week in Adelaide, Australia, from 25-29 September on the theme ‘Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security’, attracting 5,000 delegates from more than 70 countries. A large delegation of scientists, engineers and executives from the French space sector was at this leading international event to present the major advances of our space programme and seal new partnerships with a range of stakeholders on the international space scene.

This year’s event gave CNES the opportunity to sign a series of new partnership agreements. These included a cooperation agreement with Australian start-up FLEET in the presence of Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia, covering post-launch monitoring of FLEET’s nanosatellites, which will consist in supplying orbital diagnostics to characterize the satellites’ orbits. CNES also signed a new partnership agreement with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra to fast-track Australia’s ability to deliver world-class space technology and innovation. The agency will be helping UNSW Canberra to replicate its concurrent design facility (or CIC, for Centre d’Ingénierie Concourante) and grow Australia’s space ambitions.

From a broader perspective, these two cooperation agreements stem from the policy geared toward strengthening France and Australia’s high-tech ties. A letter of intent paving the way for a framework agreement was signed by Trevor Power, Head of Sectoral Growth Policy Division at the Australian Federal Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). Space is a powerful driving force underpinning our security and our economies, and has a key role to play supporting climate actions. France and Australia are therefore both committed to take advantage of the space-related revolution taking place on a global scale.

At the closing session of the congress, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “The success of this 68th IAC further consolidates our Federation’s key role in the international space arena and that of CNES as a partner of choice in space, as illustrated by the partnerships signed here with Australia, a new player on the international space scene.”