The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law Conference on Global Space Governance is bringing together for two days in Montreal a big delegation of space dignitaries to discuss issues related to global space governance ahead of the UNISPACE+50 conference in 2018 celebrating the 50th anniversary of UNISPACE I, the first Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. To this end, CNES was invited to outline its space policy vision alongside representatives of agencies, intergovernmental organizations and industry from around the world, giving Jean-Yves Le Gall the opportunity to detail CNES’s programmes and international partnerships, focused on the three key areas of Innovation, Climate Monitoring and Exploration.
Before the conference, CNES held a meeting with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to review progress since the agreement signed by the two agencies in 2014 to step up their cooperative ties in space remote sensing of the Arctic, astronaut health monitoring and microgravity research. In particular, the French ECHO ultrasound scanner being used by Thomas Pesquet on the International Space Station to study the vascular system is expected to yield precious data on astronaut health. ECHO will also be used by Canadian astronauts on their future missions. In the field of tele-epidemiology, the two nations are contributing to a working group on space and health within the framework of COPUOS and a first workshop on the contribution of Earth observation to public health practices will be held in Montreal on 21 June.
Canada is also involved, with the United Kingdom, in the French-U.S. Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, for which it is supplying key components for the satellite’s main instrument. SWOT data are eagerly awaited by scientists to gain new insights into Canada’s rich hydrological environment.
After the two-day conference, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “CNES is particularly proud of the work it is doing with Canada following the cooperation agreement signed in 2014. Canada is actively preparing its next Space Plan and I am sure the discussions held over the last two days during the conference organized by McGill University and our bilateral talks will inform their planning and lead to new opportunities for cooperation.”