Attended by S.A. Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister of the Russian Federation, the 20th anniversary event included welcome speeches from, among others, the associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate William H. Gerstenmaier, JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata, and ESA Director General Jan Wörner. The attendance of numerous astronauts—notably American and Russian—made this conference particularly symbolic.
Alongside the event, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall met with Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin to discuss the framework agreement signed between the two agencies in June 2018, which forms the cornerstone of French-Russian space cooperation for the years ahead.
The two men hailed the successful launch of ESA’s BepiColombo mission in October, to which CNES and Roscosmos contributed with the Phebus ultraviolet spectrometer to study Mercury’s exosphere. They then went on to discuss the launch in 2019 of the Russian Bion-M N°2 mission and its MTB-2 instrument (Mouse Telemetry for Bion-M2), developed by CNES. Environmental research and efforts to curb climate change were also extensively addressed, in particular Roscosmos’s contribution to setting up the Space Climate Observatory (SCO) decided at the One Planet Summit in December last year. Plus new areas of cooperation such as space medicine and spin-offs from experiments in microgravity, and new services that make use of space data.
Following the meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “These latest discussions with Dmitry Rogozin demonstrated the closer relations formed between our two agencies—both for existing programmes, whose progress has been boosted since the signature of our framework agreement, and for future projects, which will combine our skills and expertise. I am also delighted at the further possibility of bilateral cooperation in the area of space geodesy, which is currently under review and holds great potential.”