October 8, 2018

France-UAE space cooperation - CNES opens office in Abu Dhabi

Sunday 7 October, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall was in Abu Dhabi for the opening of CNES’s new office at the French Embassy and the arrival of Donato Giorgi, CNES’s representative and Space Advisor in the United Arab Emirates. This major milestone in French-Emirati space cooperation was attended by Ludovic Pouille, France’s Ambassador to the UAE, Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency (UAESA), and the agency’s Director General Mohammed Al Ahbabi.

France and the UAE have built up a solid relationship in space since 2015, CNES being the first international space agency to sign a framework agreement with UAESA. Substantial progress has since been made especially in the field of Earth observation and CNES is sharing its technical expertise with the UAE’s engineers. The opening of CNES’s office and the arrival of its representative and Space Advisor in Abu Dhabi mark a new step in the relationship between CNES and UAESA, acknowledging the UAE’s place in the international space arena as confirmed by the recent election of Mohammed Al Ahbabi, UAESA’s Director General, as Vice-President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF).

This proximity of the two agencies in Abu Dhabi will enable work to be finalized before the end of this year on organizing collaboration between CNES and UAESA on a joint hyperspectral Earth-observation satellite, a programme that is targeting capacity building and applications. This programme will also provide a significant joint contribution to the Space Climate Observatory (SCO) and international efforts to tackle climate change, to which CNES and UAESA are strongly committed. The presence of CNES’s representative and Space Advisor in Abu Dhabi will facilitate the deployment of scientific activities with UAESA in many areas. To meet the training and education needs addressed in their cooperation agreement, CNES’s new office at the French Embassy will be organizing a dedicated seminar on space technology early in 2019 in the UAE.

At the end of his visit, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “I am delighted to see CNES’s new office here in Abu Dhabi that is set to advance science, technology and applications with our key partner UAESA. To keep pace in the changing space landscape and to invent the future of space, we need to exchange ideas, challenge our ways of thinking and our well-established knowledge and try to see things differently. This is exactly what international cooperation and our partnership with UAESA is fostering at CNES. I have no doubts that space will keep making a vigorous contribution to cooperation between France and the UAE.”

Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr