December 21, 2016

CNES and Air Liquide working together to address future energy challenges in space

Wednesday 21 December, at the invitation of Air Liquide Executive Board member François Darchis, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall took part at Air Liquide facility in Sassenage in a one-day event devoted to energy in space, speaking at the round-table session on ‘Powering space exploration’ alongside Frank De Winne, Head of the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) and André Suchanek of the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics at the German space agency DLR.

CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Air Liquide Executive Board member François Darchis first signed the contract covering development and qualification of conventional and cryogenic fluid processes for the Ariane 6 ELA4 launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre (CSG). CNES has responsibility for developing ground support equipment at the CSG and as such is in charge of building the new ELA4 launch complex for Ariane 6, working with industry partners selected through European invitations to tender. CNES has selected the GME consortium of Cegelec and Air Liquide to conduct the work under this latest contract.

Jean-Yves Le Gall and François Darchis then signed a five-year statement of joint interest in cryogenic technologies for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration, and in energy, one of the major challenges of the 21st century both on Earth and for space exploration, through the development of a demonstrator of an innovative power generation and storage system. Through this statement, CNES and Air Liquide wish to underline their commitment to gearing up to meet the challenges in these domains, for launchers and the CSG, for orbital spacecraft and for exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.

At the round-table session on powering space exploration, Jean-Yves Le Gall underscored the need to develop mature technologies capable of generating, storing and delivering energy that will be vital for crewed exploration missions, for system operation and crew survival, to utilize resources in situ and generate oxygen and water for life support, and to maintain the temperature of space habitats. “A crewed mission to Mars is now planned for 2025-2030 and CNES will be at the forefront of this new space odyssey, fostering partnerships towards this end. The agency will pursue its policy of supporting Air Liquide’s R&T and demonstrator programmes. Air Liquide already has many of the building blocks to meet some of our requirements here on Earth, so now we need to ‘space-rate’ them and I am pleased to say it will be our partner for the challenges that lie ahead of us,” he said.

Pascale Bresson    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Julien Watelet    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37