March 30, 2020


During the current lockdown, CNES has adapted its organization to protect the health of its workforce and to play its part in the national effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and sustain the nation’s economic activity. To this end, the agency has instituted home working on a massive scale across its four field centres in Paris Les Halles, Paris Daumesnil, at the Toulouse Space Centre and at the Guiana Space Centre, thanks to the capacity of its information system and the huge efforts of its staff. However, CNES’s response plan requires certain employees to be physically present on site and all steps have been taken to ensure they can carry out all of their tasks to the usual high standards of quality while strictly applying the recommended distancing and transmission reduction precautions.

First satellite maps of France showing reduced pollution as a result of COVID-19
ESA, to which CNES is the leading contributor, released new maps last Friday showing a drop in atmospheric pollution across Europe as a result of the lockdown. Launched in 2017, the European Copernicus programme’s Sentinel-5P satellite reveals big reductions in levels of nitrogen dioxide over major cities in Europe, notably Paris. The lower pollution levels can also be represented by measured emissions of carbon monoxide, which are particularly high in winter from coal-fired power stations in addition to the usual road traffic and industrial activities. Data from the IASI infrared spectrometer, developed jointly by CNES and Eumetsat, thus complement the picture painted by Sentinel-5P, which operates in a different portion of the spectrum and with a different vertical sensitivity and equator-crossing time (IASI crosses the equator at 9.00 a.m., as opposed to 1.30 p.m. for Sentinel-5P). CNES has for several years now been providing its support to French research laboratories that are currently conducting more in-depth analysis of all of these data to produce validated and detailed results of the impact of the lockdown on atmospheric pollution. The Sentinel-5P maps released by ESA can be viewed here.

Pollution atmosphère France mars 2020 Credits: ESA 2020 Sentinel-5P Copernicus

CNES supporting education and youth
During the lockdown, CNES is providing children, students and teachers with a range of learning material to develop their understanding of space and Universe sciences. The solar system is already studied as part of the primary school curriculum. With its series of ‘On vacation in the solar system’ videos, CNES is offering the opportunity to learn more about Earth’s planetary and stellar neighbours. Special features, tutorials showing you how to build your own model spacecraft, games, quizzes and more are also available for those interested in everything that’s going on in the skies above us! View the agency’s youth website here and check out its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube social media channels.

Stay connected with satellite Internet during the lockdown
At this time more than ever before, French citizens need a good Internet connection to go about their daily tasks, with parents working and their children keeping up with their schoolwork from home. People living in underserved areas or ‘notspots’ therefore find themselves even more at a disadvantage than usual. When no fibre, cable, ADSL or 4G connection is available, a satellite subscription is the solution. Simply sign up with a satellite Internet service provider, receive your satellite dish (home deliveries are still operating), point it and activate your connection within days. With a monthly subscription, any home can thus obtain a broadband connection anywhere in France. Premium offers for businesses and government aid for the purchase of equipment are also available.

Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51