CNES’s President underlined how the development of space applications has totally changed the lives of people everywhere in the world through the deep transformations being driven by NewSpace. This trend is being fuelled by users’ needs and innovation, in response to the digital revolution that is putting data at the core of economic life, and the central role of space in generating and communicating data. To accomplish its mission to meet the needs of society and improve the daily lives of French citizens, CNES has taken advantage of NewSpace to restructure and develop new business models.
In particular, CNES created a new Directorate of Innovation, Applications and Science in 2016 to develop and guide space science and engineering research. The focus of its action is clearly oriented towards user communities, to which the agency makes its expertise available (manufacturers, large operators, research organizations and start-ups). The ConnectbyCNES initiative launched in February 2018 aims to make space technologies widely available to enterprises and start-ups, helping them to understand their needs and better identify utilization of space technologies that could be strategic in their development.
The second line of action CNES is pursuing hinges on granting user licences for technologies the agency has developed through its innovative programmes, giving space application developers the best technology there is to start or develop their business under the best possible conditions. To help these new investors, CNES launched in 2018 a venture capital innovation fund designed to invest in space industry applications. CosmiCapital is the first French investment fund dedicated to space, and the only Space Tech fund in Europe. It aims to raise between 80 and 100 million euros from industrial and institutional investors for the benefit of European start-ups.
Lastly, the ArianeWorks project is looking to promote disruptive ways of working with industry to speed up innovation, pool talents and investments, and achieve synergies between teams and infrastructures at CNES and ArianeGroup working together under the same roof, in a highly flexible environment open to new players and internationally.
Concluding his contribution to the round table, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “CNES is continuously strengthening its capacity to innovate and pursuing many initiatives to encourage and support the space ecosystem. By significantly boosting innovation in the space domain, CNES is helping French industry to stay ahead.”
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