Tuesday 19 January, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Lisa Campbell, President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), held a videoconference meeting to review the status of their bilateral space cooperation and discuss renewing the framework agreement between the two agencies that is set to expire in December. In particular, this cooperation covers scientific ballooning, the use of telemetry and tracking stations in Eastern Canada for launches from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), space medicine and missions for environmental and climate science.
Jean-Yves Le Gall hailed the excellent cooperation between CNES and CSA in scientific ballooning. Since 2012, many joint activities have been accomplished, with the selection and construction of a balloon launch facility in Timmins, Canada, five Strato Science flight campaigns between 2013 and 2019 in Canada, CSA’s contribution to the European HEMERA project and preparations in readiness for the next campaign scheduled in summer 2022. The renewal of the agencies’ balloon agreement, also planned for 2022, will offer new opportunities with long-duration flights, transatlantic flights from Kiruna and Canada, flights carrying military payloads and a new equatorial launch site.
The two agency heads also agreed to put the terms and conditions governing use of the Gatineau telemetry and tracking station for launches from the CSG on a formal footing. This modern station offers stable and future-proof telecommunications links as well as automatic tracking functions.
CNES and CSA have been working together in the field of space medicine since 2016, tele-operating the ECHO ultrasound scanning device on the International Space Station. This collaboration is set to continue with the development of new motorized probes and new software, giving ECHO more features to serve the needs of current and future Canadian and French experiments. The two agencies are also partnering on the definition of an ultrasound scanner for missions on the Gateway lunar platform. In this context, Jean-Yves Le Gall and Lisa Campbell welcomed the prospects for cooperation in health monitoring for the station and possibly extending it to the Gateway, including neurosciences and collection and handling of data from astronaut health monitoring and medical experiments.
The two heads also discussed climate science and Earth observation, notably the Space Climate Observatory (SCO) to which 27 space agencies have signed up around the world.