Hubert Curien left a lasting mark on the inception and expansion of Europe’s space programme. In 1976, he was appointed President of CNES, which he would lead with energy and talent until 1984, and was the father of the Ariane programme of which he witnessed the successful first launch 40 years ago on 24 December 1979. He was also the first Chair of the ESA Council, founded Arianespace, initiated the SPOT programme and organized the first spaceflight of a French astronaut, Jean-Loup Chrétien in 1982. In 1984, he was appointed Minister of Research and Technology in the government of Laurent Fabius, remaining in this post until 1993.
On the occasion of today’s inauguration, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “Hubert Curien played a fundamental role in the construction of Europe’s space programme. Naming a square in Paris after him is a great tribute on behalf of the nation and a very apposite one, coming as it does just after the historic success of the Space19+ Conference. CNES is proud to have had Hubert Curien as its President for eight years, and as we prepare to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Ariane launch, I would like to say to his family and friends how strong the memory of him remains for us. Thank you, President Curien!”