Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 May, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall was at the annual SATELLITE 2019 show in Washington D.C., where he took part in space leaders forum on ‘Navigating the Fractured Geopolitical Landscape’, taking the opportunity to underline the excellent performance of France’s space industry. Turning his attention to international cooperation issues, he presented the five domains in which CNES is active and pointed to different examples of partnerships in which it is engaged in Europe, with the world’s leading space powers and emerging space nations. He also stressed the need to foster international cooperation in response to the challenges of the 21st century.
Each of CNES’s five domains of activity is driven by the constant pursuit of innovation. During the course of 2018, in launchers Ariane 5 successfully accomplished its 103rd flight, while development work continued on Ariane 6, Vega C, the Prometheus low-cost engine and the Callisto reusable demonstrator. Science remained at the forefront, with the CNES-JAXA-DLR Hayabusa2-MASCOT mission to asteroid Ryugu, the launch of ESA-JAXA’s BepiColombo to Mercury and the historic InSight mission on Mars, for which the French SEIS seismometer is already providing promising results to the scientific community. In Earth observation, the CFOSat mission and MetOp-C carrying the IASI instrument were orbited. In telecommunications, four new Galileo satellites were deployed, putting Europe’s geopositioning system well on the way to its target of 1 billion users, and the Konnect project got underway to bring Internet services to all French citizens by 2021. Finally, in defence the year closed with the launch and entry into operational service of the CSO-1 military observation satellite. Jean-Yves Le Gall then underlined just how important cooperation is in everything CNES is doing, in particular its key partnership with the United States in fields such as oceanography and robotic exploration of Mars.
Jean-Yves Le Gall also took advantage of his trip to Washington D.C. to meet NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The two agency heads mainly discussed U.S. plans to return astronauts to the Moon and in the medium term to establish a permanent human presence there, and looking further ahead, crewed exploration of Mars. They also talked about the upcoming Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, where the United States will be sending a big delegation.
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