January 6, 2014

CNES in 2014 - A chance for Europe

“CNES driving innovation for jobs and competitiveness”

Monday 6 January, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall delivered his New Year wishes to members of the French and international press in the “Salle de l’Espace” at Paris Les Halles. This gathering provided the opportunity to review a year that brought many successes for CNES and to chart prospects for the coming year that is set to be decisive for our space policy.

For Jean-Yves Le Gall, “CNES is today an undisputed standard-setter and a key driver of Europe’s space strategy. With its 2,450 dedicated and enthusiastic employees, it is spurring innovation for jobs and competitiveness. And with its federating Ambition 2020 programme, it has the capabilities to ensure that France remains a leader in European and global space endeavours.”

2013 was a year in which CNES accomplished many successes in each of the five domains pursued by its four centres of excellence: the Toulouse Space Centre for design of orbital systems, the Launch Vehicles Directorate for development of launch systems, the Guiana Space Centre for operation of European launchers, and Head Office for space policy, geared towards sustaining and developing relations with the space industry, our European partners through ESA and the European Commission, and international partners. In this respect, CNES is a key element of our economic diplomacy and has helped our industry to achieve numerous successes.

In 2013, the Ariane roadmap decided in Naples at the end of 2012 was applied with adaptations to Ariane 5 and the development of Ariane 6, while Ariane 5 clocked up its 57th consecutive launch success. In science, the high point was the launch of the GAIA astrometry mission and the ‘big data’ processing systems set up for it at the Toulouse Space Centre that will revolutionize how we see the Universe. In Earth observation, Megha-Tropiques was joined in orbit by the SARAL-AltiKa satellite, demonstrating CNES’s consummate expertise in such complex systems. This expertise was also on display in Telecommunications with the success of Alphasat and preparations for the deployment of Galileo, and in Defence with the key role the two Pléiades satellites are playing in France’s overseas operations.

CNES faces many other challenges in the year ahead. To meet them, it can count on the government’s continuing support and the funding to match its ambitions, as President François Hollande reaffirmed on his visit to the Guiana Space Centre on 14 December. The agency’s budget will be increased to €2.127 million, its highest level for more than 10 years. In total, at €30 per capita per year, France’s civil space budget is the second highest in the world after the United States (€46), ahead of Germany (€16) and the United Kingdom (€6).

Some 80% of this budget directly benefits French industry to sustain jobs and competitiveness, with every euro invested in the commercial space sector generating €20 in spin-offs for the economy. Space supports 16,000 jobs in mainland France, in addition to the 1,700 jobs in French Guiana that generate five times as many indirect jobs for 20% of the Guianese population. This contribution to employment makes CNES a major player in France’s economy.

Flagship projects for 2014 include: in defence, Athena-Fidus, set to launch in January; in Telecommunications, the electric-propulsion satellite that is one of 34 projects selected under France’s NFI new industrial policy; in Earth observation, IASI-NG, a shining example of successful cooperation between CNES, ESA and Eumetsat; in Sciences, Rosetta, scheduled to reach comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a 10-year journey in November and put the Philae lander on its surface; and for Ariane, Ariane 6.

2014 will also be devoted to preparing for the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level in Luxembourg in December, which is expected to reach key decisions on ESA/EU relations, Europe’s role in scientific space exploration and the future of European launchers. On these three issues, the groundwork CNES has done to establish a consensus in France and Europe will prove especially useful at a time when, in a fiercely competitive international environment, every effort must be made to maintain our nation’s enviable position in space. To this end, the work undertaken over several years now in France to secure the long-term future of the Ariane programme shows that in 2014, more than ever, CNES will be a chance for Europe.

CNES press contacts

Alain Delrieu Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 04 alain.delrieu@cnes.fr
Pascale Bresson Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39 pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Julien Watelet Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37 julien.watelet@cnes.fr
Press office Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 76 88 cnes-presse@cnes.fr