In his address, Jean-Yves Le Gall recalled that CNES and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) have forged longstanding and successful ties in space, illustrated by the VENμS mission (Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro Satellite) orbited last August atop a Vega launcher from the Guiana Space Centre. VENμS is a vegetation-monitoring satellite at the cutting edge of innovation that is already making a major contribution to environmental research, while also pursuing the technological objective of flight-qualifying the Israeli Hall Effect Thruster (IHET) system. The satellite’s ability to acquire imagery frequently and in rich spectral detail at high spatial resolution is a world first that will enable scientists to better understand and model changes in land surfaces induced by climate and human factors.
CNES’s President also outlined efforts being pursued to tackle climate change, notably through the creation of the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), one of the 12 commitments made at the One Planet Summit organized at the initiative of President Emmanuel Macron on 12 December in Paris. This year will be devoted to defining possible partner contributions to the SCO, which aims to pool climate data acquired from space and make them readily available to the world’s scientific community. In this respect, VENµS is expected to contribute to the SCO by advancing our understanding of climate change and its impacts.
On the sidelines of the symposium, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “France-Israel Season 2018, with which CNES is closely involved, is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of what we are doing in the space sector which, more than ever before, is stimulating keen interest around the world. I am delighted to see that, encouraged by the success of VENµS, we are now looking to develop a new joint cloud-monitoring mission with Israel that will further our contribution to tackling climate change, which truly is one of the main challenges facing us in the decades ahead.”