As guest speaker, Jean-Yves Le Gall took part in the summer school’s round table on Wednesday 31 August on the subject of “The Constant Drive for Innovation”, alongside Thierry Mandon, the French Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research.
CNESs President outlined the current context of space activity, describing it as “a rapidly-evolving environment”. He started by describing the new global context, with the leading space nations experiencing budget increases, and emerging countries—where NewSpace is now a reality—making a clear breakthrough.
He went on to cover the three key areas for rising to the challenges of tomorrow. These are: NewSpace, by further developing the scope of application of space technologies and by constantly innovating. Climate, for which CNES works tirelessly, having made international cooperation one of its key foci—the most concrete evidence of this being the Declaration of New Delhi. And exploration, through the promotion of miniaturization and embedded intelligence and the quest to reach Mars.
He illustrated these key areas with concrete examples from CNES’s five fields of operation—Launchers, Science, Observation, Telecommunications and Defence.
He then laid out the three guiding axes of development for the future. These are innovation, notably through the development of future launchers, the study of Mars, the fostering of disruptive approaches and the filing of ever-more ground-breaking patents, plus the positioning of CNES upstream of the industry to enable the rapid launch of new programmes as was the case for Ariane 6 and electric propulsion.
Applications must also play a central role, to support the agency’s strategy as well as all space users. Examples include the recent partnership with France’s national railway company SNCF, established links with the agricultural, fishing and regional-planning sectors, plus the fight against pollution. And finally inspiration, since all these programmes rely on the recruitment of top engineers and scientists who have the ability to take French research and technology to the highest levels.
Jean-Yves Le Gall concluded by saying: “The space technology of today drives the technological revolutions and therefore the growth of tomorrow. By developing partnerships with new players, CNES shows that France is fully engaged in NewSpace, innovation and the economic development of the future.”