Thursday 17 May, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall was at the press conference held at the Institut français to present the France-Israel Season 2018 alongside the institute’s President, Pierre Bulher, and Israel’s Ambassador to France, Aliza Bin-Noun. He underlined the excellent partnership that CNES and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) have forged together, the emblematic VENμS programme (Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro Satellite) and events planned for this Season.
Jean-Yves Le Gall hailed this flourishing partnership with Israel, exemplified by the success of the VENμS mission launched last August atop a European Vega vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre. VENμS is a project at the cutting edge of innovation that is making a major contribution to environmental research and flight-qualifying the Israeli Hall Effect Thruster (IHET) electric propulsion system. It is expected to help the international scientific community gain new insights into the processes driving climate change and its impacts, and to contribute to the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), one of the 12 commitments made at the One Planet Summit organized at the initiative of France last 12 December in Paris. The SCO’s aim is to pool climate data acquired from space and make them readily available to the international scientific community.
In addition to efforts to promote the results from the VENμS mission in France and Israel as the symbol of their partnership, CNES’s President detailed how he will be taking part in the France-Israel Season 2018. A mock-up of the satellite will be on show at the Season’s official opening on 5 June at the Grand Palais in Paris. He will also be visiting an Israeli high school near Tel-Aviv with ISA’s President Avi Blasberger in June. A roundtable session on biosphere and climate will be held during the Toulouse Space Show, taking place from 26-28 June, where the VENμS mission will be showcased with ISA. The VENμS mock-up will also be on display during the show. Throughout this summer, the Cité de l’Espace space theme park in Toulouse will be putting on an exhibition of captivating images from VENμS, while videoconference link-ups between Israeli and French schools on science and the mission are planned at the start of the new school year in September. Educational actions will also be carried out focusing on the mission in both countries. Lastly, a French-Israeli science seminar will be organized on 20 and 21 November in Israel, as part of the Season, to present and discuss the first scientific analyses of data from VENμS.
In conclusion, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “I would like you to remember the VENµS mission as the first step towards closer space cooperation between France and Israel, not only in the field of science and technology, but also in terms of human relationships. Buoyed by VENµS’s success, CNES and ISA are studying a new joint mission, also designed to support climate actions. I am certain that French-Israeli space cooperation has a bright future to look forward to.”