December 10, 2018

France-China space cooperation - Preparatory meeting of the French-Chinese joint science and technology committee

Monday 10 December in Beijing, in the presence of Bernard Larrouturou, the French government’s Director General of Research and Innovation, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall addressed the preparatory meeting of the French-Chinese joint science and technology committee, where he gave a presentation on space cooperation between the two nations. At this day-long session, he also had the opportunity to talk with Wang Zhigang, China’s Minister for Science and Technology, Zhang Kejian, Administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), and Wang Zhenyu, Head of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

In 2017, the 11th meeting of the French-Chinese joint space committee identified climate change research and space exploration as the two priorities for space cooperation, leading to the signing of an agreement during the French President’s visit to China last January. During today’s meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall reviewed the initial results from the CFOSat mission launched on 29 October, which aims to advance our understanding of winds and waves at the surface of the oceans and to measure their impacts on climate change. The first data from CFOSat are of remarkable quality and will be available in a few months’ time for the world’s weather services and scientific community to achieve more precise forecasting.

Looking further ahead to new endeavours under this exceptional partnership between France and China, CNES’s President set out a nine-point action plan to:

•    Pursue the major joint SVOM astrophysics mission
•    Identify a new Earth-observation mission focused on climate monitoring
•    Establish a framework for exchanging greenhouse gas data
•    Seek opportunities to work together on one of China’s planetary exploration missions
•    Continue cooperation in the field of oceanography
•    Pursue ongoing cooperation in space medicine
•    Study future opportunities for cooperation in astrophysics
•    Study the possibility of working together in materials science
•    Develop collaboration in space with academia

After the meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “France and China are developing an exceptional partnership in space, as illustrated by the success of the CFOSat oceanography satellite. In the short term, the next step is the SVOM astrophysics mission, which is proceeding according to plan. Beyond that, today’s meeting enabled us to identify several areas of shared interest, which will be addressed at our next Space Science Survey seminar in October 2019. Thanks to CNES and CNSA, France and China are now accomplishing great things together in space and this partnership is set to grow in the years ahead.”

Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51