October 2, 2017

France-Japan space cooperation - CNES at the STS forum 2017 in Kyoto

Sunday 1 October, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall was at the Science Technology in Society (STS) forum 2017 in Kyoto, where he took part in a roundtable session on Competition and Cooperation among Global Industries moderated by Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Recent shifts in the space sector were the focus of discussions and Jean-Yves Le Gall began by pointing to the dual nature of the competition now facing space agencies and space industries. Firstly, from the NewSpace movement and its business model that is applying bold and disruptive approaches backed by big financial resources. And secondly, from the emergence of countries looking to invest in space, notably in South East Asia, South America and Africa, alongside traditional space powers like the United States, Europe and Japan.

With the cost of getting into space coming down all the time as a result of these new approaches, a broad spectrum of users is emerging in the space arena. Agriculture, construction and public works, hazard management, natural resource management and mobility are just some of the applications already taking advantage of space technologies. Pragmatism is the watchword of these new users and they will choose the solution that offers them the best return on investment.

Jean-Yves Le Gall underlined the importance of international cooperation between space agencies and space service user communities in this new environment. By sharing costs and pooling talents, such cooperation shortens development cycles and enables the most ambitious projects. And by cultivating contacts with other cultures and methods, it encourages the disruptive approaches required to stay competitive. Space agencies must also seek to create synergies between all space stakeholders with a view to stimulating the development of new space applications, thus creating jobs while serving the needs of the society.

CNES’s President also emphasized space’s potential as a tool for supporting climate actions. Indeed, 26 of the 50 essential climate variables can only be measured by satellite. As a climate-driven agency, CNES actively contributed to the COP21 and COP22 conferences and is now preparing for the world conference on climate to be held in Paris on 12 December, chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron. He concluded by reasserting the need to support innovation to stay ahead in a fast-changing sector. It is now up to space agencies to grasp this opportunity, as CNES is doing, to invent the future of space.

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