2016 marked 50 years of space cooperation between France and Russia, and saw a series of successes for flagship French-Russian missions, with the launch and insertion into Mars orbit of the ExoMars probe, two Soyuz flights from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) and the start of Thomas Pesquet’s Proxima mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Riding on this momentum, these successes have been pursued this year with the first two Soyuz launches into geostationary transfer orbit from the CSG, development work on ExoMars 2020 and Thomas Pesquet’s return to Earth on 2 June in a Soyuz spacecraft.
During the first half of this year, CNES and Roscosmos have been putting the finishing touches to discussions on a framework bilateral agreement to develop space science that will be the cornerstone for new joint projects. Advances have also been accomplished on an instrument designed to fly on the Bepi-Colombo mission to Mercury and on a life-science instrument set to deliver new insights as part of Russia’s Bion-M2 capsule recovery mission. The second half of the year will afford new opportunities, with a joint CNES-Roscosmos technical seminar at the Toulouse Space Centre.
After his meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “France and Russia have been cooperating in space for more than 50 years. This historic cooperation has been extended to Europe, with the fantastic projects that ESA is pursuing with Russia, and to industry through joint work on launchers and satellites. This solid foundation will enable us to step up our cooperation, building on the new political dynamic between France and Russia.”
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