Thursday 9 January in Cayenne, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Marie-Anne Clair, Director of the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), presented the agency’s traditional New Year wishes to French Guiana’s institutional and socio-professional representatives, members of parliament, town councillors and government officials. They also paid tribute to the centre’s teams for their accomplishments in 2019, yet another record year in space for France and Europe.
Jean-Yves Le Gall began by recalling the nine flights accomplished from the CSG in 2019, launching emblematic European missions like PRISMA, CHEOPS and EDRS-C, as well as the first satellites in the OneWeb constellation and ANGELS, the first French commercial nanosatellite. He looked back on a year marked by the 250th launch of Ariane, the 40th anniversary of its maiden flight, the 50th anniversary of the Paris fire brigade, an exhibition of archaeological excavations at the CSG and extended access to the base for visitors. 2019 also saw the second hot-fire test of the Vega C launcher’s P120C booster, continued work on construction of the ELA4 launch complex for Ariane 6 and related technical qualification tests.
Jean-Yves Le Gall then emphasized CNES’s role in French Guiana and its support for the region’s development. 2019 was a year in which the agency consolidated its relations with French Guiana, with the tripling of the number of student grants for the second year running and the extension of training to other key sectors for the region outside space, as well as funding for the its municipalities. These relations are set to step up another gear in 2020, in particular through the Connect by CNES initiative that will be deployed for application projects leveraging satellite data designed to serve citizens, the opening of a Fab Lab in Kourou with the agency’s partners and its support for and participation in the French Guiana ‘region of industry’ initiative.
CNES’s President also pointed to the CSG New Generation programme designed to assure the launch base’s future, approved at the agency’s initiative by Europe’s space ministers meeting in Seville last November. This major overhaul for the CSG’s facilities promises to bring many benefits for local industry. The CSG also has some big operational goals in sight for 2020, with eight launches scheduled for the first half of the year, the third hot-fire test of P120C for Ariane 6, combined tests at ELA4 and the maiden flights of Ariane 6 and Vega C.
At the end of the gathering, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “I want to thank all of our partners at the CSG for the successes accomplished in French Guiana and at the ESA Ministerial Conference in Seville. 2020 will see the results of the historic decisions we have taken and many new challenges for which their commitment will once again be crucial, as the CSG truly is one of spacefaring Europe’s main assets. I would also like to most warmly thank the Préfet, government agencies and the armed forces in French Guiana, institutional stakeholders, local authorities and municipalities, and all of the firms without whom such successes would be impossible.”