September 8, 2014

CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall meets with the heads of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology

CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall met with Charles Elachi, Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Thomas Rosenbaum, President of the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), in Pasadena on Friday 5 September. This latest meeting between the three organisations was a chance to review ongoing and future partnerships, and in particular Mars 2020. CNES will play a key role in this future mission to Mars, through the supply of its SuperCam instrument.

As recent history proves, with the success of the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) mission and its rover Curiosity, CNES and JPL enjoy a unique relationship similar to the one that links France and the United States. The latest example of this cooperation is NASA’s decision at the end of July to select the SuperCam instrument for Mars 2020—the next Mars exploratory mission. A worthy successor to ChemCam, Supercam is the result of scientific cooperation between the Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA), the IRAP astrophysics and planetology research institute (France) and Valladolid University (Spain).

It was within this context that Jean-Yves Le Gall arrived in Pasadena on Friday 5 Septembre to meet Charles Elachi, Director of JPL, in the company of Axel Cruau, France’s Consul General in Los Angeles. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the cooperative partnership between CNES and JPL, in particular the InSight mission, due for launch in March 2016, and SWOT, which progressed to phase B at NASA this June. Both programmes are wonderful examples of the close interaction between French and American teams.

The President of CNES and France’s Consul General went on to visit CalTech, at the invitation of its new President Thomas Rosenbaum. CNES and Caltech are partners in the Master’s Educational Exchange Program, launched in 2013 by CNES, France’s Ecole Polytechnique, CalTech and JPL.

Following the two meetings, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “A visit to Pasadena is always an extraordinary experience, because it’s a place that’s synonymous with technical excellence. Some of the greatest achievements of CNES and of space exploration have been conceived and accomplished here, and Charles Elachi and I agreed how proud and honoured we feel to have been involved in such projects. We now look to the future together, with a feeling of serenity. It’s a future that looks bright thanks to the recent developments around Mars 2020, with JPL and CalTech as key partners of CNES.”

CNES press contacts
Pascale Bresson Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Alain Delrieu Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 04
Julien Watelet Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37