April 6, 2020


During the current lockdown, CNES has adapted its organization to protect the health of its workforce, play its part in the national effort to slow the spread of the 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.

Space Climate Observatory (SCO) label for first French projects
During a special webinar to which more than 100 people tuned in on line, the French Space Climate Observatory (SCO) team led by CNES, the national weather service Meteo France, the French institute of marine research and exploration IFREMER, the national scientific research centre CNRS and the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation announced the first projects to be awarded the SCO label. The label has been given to 14 out of the 21 projects submitted, each of them proposing a climate change mitigation solution designed to help local authorities or decision-makers respond to crucial challenges like shoreline retreat, rising urban temperatures, the spread of epidemics or flood response.   
The combined use of spatial, environmental and socio-economic data supports analysis to anticipate the impacts of climate change and implement mitigation policies. Whether they are informing prophylactic prevention strategies to check the proliferation of disease-bearing mosquitoes, estimating risks of coastal submersion or monitoring rice crops in Vietnam, SCO projects are seeking to translate research into operational applications. Over the next two years, they will be delivering their end-products following an open-data rationale so that they can be replicated in other regions facing the same vulnerabilities. The French SCO projects will be presented alongside those from other nations at the next One Planet Summit.

Recovery Observatory (RO) – Earth-observation satellites serving post-disaster recovery
In October 2016, as Hurricane Matthew was leaving a trail of destruction across the southwest of Haiti, CNES initiated and led the international Recovery Observatory (RO) project with a view to aiding Haiti’s long-term reconstruction. This project aims to provide map products derived from Earth-observation imagery to help local responders identify building and infrastructure damage, farmland, landslides and so on. Working with numerous member space agencies of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), CNES is looking through this project to build a shared vision between CEOS and international partners (World Bank/GFDRR, UNPD and EU) on a generic RO capability that could be deployed in the event of major disasters to support reconstruction. After the pilot project in Haiti, CEOS has renewed its commitment and given the go-ahead for an RO demonstration phase planned to last four years. A key milestone in the development of this initiative was reached recently with the publication of an advocacy paper on the use of Earth-observation satellites to support post-disaster recovery.   
View the report here.

Copernicus Innovation Challenges – A business opportunity for tough times
During this lockdown period and to contribute to the national effort, CNES is pulling out all the stops and pursuing missions and actions geared towards generating business and supporting its ecosystem. In partnership with Aerospace Valley, it has decided to maintain the Copernicus Innovation Challenges competition inviting start-ups and SMEs to come up with new products and services based on satellite data for the farming, environment, water and local government sectors.   
The winners will receive a prize of €50,000 funded by the Copernicus programme and the European Commission and receive technical support from CNES experts. The goal is to develop a demonstrator from their projects within six months after the selection committee makes its announcement scheduled end June.
Learn more here.

Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr