France-China space cooperation began with the signing of an intergovernmental agreement in 1997. Today, it centres around three areas—oceanography, astrophysics and space medicine. Following last October’s launch of the CFOSat oceanography satellite, CNES and CNSA are currently working on the SVOM astrophysics mission ahead of its launch in 2021.
This joint committee focused on several areas regarding bilateral relations, technological innovation strategies, and the status and potential of French-Chinese scientific and technological innovation. For the space component, Jean-Yves Le Gall explained that future France-China cooperation would focus on the areas of climate and solar system exploration, considered priorities by both parties. He went on to list nine specific avenues that are set to guide French-Chinese space discussions over the coming years.
On the committee sidelines, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “Since 1997, cooperation between our two countries has been endlessly enriched with new subjects. France and China continue to work together and new opportunities are to be encouraged, as I saw in my recent discussions with my CNSA counterpart Zhang Kejian. As of March 2019, France-China cooperation will be under the spotlight once more, with the continued joint analysis of the first science results from CFOSat, whose in-orbit operation has proved absolutely outstanding.”
*CNRS: France’s national scientific research centre
**INSERM: France’s national institute for health and medical research.