CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall met Roberto Battiston, President of ASI, the Italian space agency, on Friday 30 May in Rome on the occasion of a conference organized by the University of La Sapienza, the largest in Europe and one of the oldest seats of learning in the world.
Jean-Yves Le Gall was invited by the University of La Sapienza to give a talk on France’s space strategy as part of preparations for the next ministerial-level conference of the European Space Agency (ESA). He began by presenting CNES’s four centres of excellence in Paris, Toulouse and Kourou, and the five key areas of activity—Ariane, Sciences, Earth Observation, Telecommunications and Defence—encompassed by the agency’s federating ‘Ambition 2020’ programme.
The emphasis then shifted to cooperation with Italy. Formalized by an agreement in 2007, cooperation between the two nations is strongly focused on Earth observation, with the CosmoSkyMed and Pleiades programmes, and on telecommunications with the Sicral 2 and Athena Fidus satellites, the latter having been launched on 6 February from the Guiana Space Centre. At European level, CNES and ASI have long been involved in Copernicus and Galileo, and more recently signed a cooperation agreement concerning the science instruments for the BepiColombo mission that ESA is set to send to Mercury in three years’ time. Lastly, France and Italy are also contributing to the development of the Vega launcher, which completed its third successful flight on 30 April.
All of these topics were addressed at the meeting between Jean-Yves Le Gall and Roberto Battiston, where the two agency heads also took the opportunity to discuss items on the agenda of the next ESA Ministerial Conference. After their meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall stated: “It was a great pleasure for me to meet Roberto Battiston again at such a historic venue as La Sapienza. CNES and ASI are longstanding partners who complement one another very well and have worked together effectively on bilateral initiatives as well as through ESA. This bodes well for the success of the next ESA Ministerial Conference.”