June 11, 2019

CNES Science Programmes Committee meets - Outgoing committee hands over for 2019-2024

Tuesday 11 June, CNES’s Science Programmes Committee (CPS) met at the agency’s Head Office in Paris Les Halles. The CPS advises the CNES Board of Directors on matters relating to space science research and helps it to shape the agency’s science priorities.

Today’s meeting was a special occasion, the first for the committee’s newly appointed members for the 2019-2024 period—with strict parity between men and women—and the last for outgoing CPS members. As is customary at CPS meetings, Universe sciences, Earth system sciences and the recommendations of the CERES and TOSCA scientific assessment committees were on the agenda. The meeting also exceptionally welcomed ESA’s Director of Science Günther Hasinger, who gave a presentation on the stakes of its science programme. Preparations for the next CNES Science Survey Seminar in Le Havre from 8 to 10 October were also discussed.

Kicking off the CPS meeting, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall underlined the major successes achieved over the 2014-2019 period since the last Science Survey Seminar in La Rochelle in April 2014. In Universe science, these included the Rosetta-Philae mission, the ISS Proxima mission with Thomas Pesquet, the Microscope, InSight-SEIS, Parker Solar Probe and Hayabusa2-MASCOT missions, BepiColombo to explore Mercury, and the delivery in June this year of SuperCam, the French instrument that will be operating on the U.S. Mars 2020 rover. The field of Earth sciences was marked by the Jason-3, VENµS and CFOSat missions, the third-generation IASI instrument on MetOp-SG and the European Copernicus programme. Jean-Yves Le Gall also mentioned ESA missions that have been defined or are in development to which France is making a key contribution—JUICE, ATHENA and LISA, three missions validated at the La Rochelle seminar and subsequently selected for the Cosmic Vision programme—and other ESA missions in which French priorities are well represented, such as Solar Orbiter, EUCLID, PLATO and ARIEL (an exoplanet-hunting mission planned in 2028). Lastly, he stressed the constantly shifting space landscape being shaped by NewSpace. After launchers, the fields of Earth observation and satellite telecommunications have been impacted by the arrival of new players leveraging the convergence of industrial-scale production of microsatellite and nanosatellite constellations, big data and artificial intelligence. All of these cross-cutting issues intersect with science planning.

Wrapping up the meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “Today marks the official handover from the outgoing CPS chaired by Jean-Loup Puget to the incoming CPS chaired by Gilles Bergametti. I would like to most warmly thank the outgoing members for their excellent results and welcome their newly appointed counterparts. I hope we will share five years as fruitful and rewarding as the last five years, working together to accomplish great things for French space science, gaining new knowledge and serving French and European citizens.”

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