Reflecting on the signing at the UK-France Summit in Sandhurst of a statement by CNES and UKSA to consolidate the two nations’ ties in space, Jean-Yves Le Gall pointed to the projects the agencies are working on together—IASI-NG for atmospheric sounding, SWOT to survey oceans, lakes and large rivers, and MicroCarb to measure carbon gases—that are going to prove vital supporting efforts to tackle climate change. He also mentioned key milestones in which space has played a leading role to enhance our understanding of climate change, in particular the One Planet Summit held in Paris last December and the endorsement by the world’s space agencies of the creation of a new Space Climate Observatory (SCO).
CNES’s President also emphasized the fundamental role of international cooperation. Space has forged itself a place apart and is now attracting a host of new players alongside traditional space agencies. “Space has become a great vehicle for international cooperation, of which the International Space Station is one of the most visible illustrations. Space also forges ties between nations, as Thomas and Tim can attest. However, that doesn’t mean there should not be competition to stimulate us all sides, as the title of this panel discussion—Sharing Space, Brave New Worlds—suggests,” he said.
He then reflected on the fast-changing landscape being driven by NewSpace and the need to anticipate the reshaping of the world space scene. New players are emerging at a fast pace, looking to take advantage of space applications and gain global market share. Historic scientific and technological successes are also spurring new vocations among future generations and encouraging new paths for research to pave the way for the next missions set to serve our planet and continue to explore the solar system, taking us back to the Moon and on to Mars. The space sector needs more engineers, more research scientists and more entrepreneurs fired by the spirit of space.
In conclusion, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “2018 is shaping up to be a stellar year for CNES, with the launches of InSight with NASA, BepiColombo with ESA and JAXA, and CFOSat with China. Besides these amazing projects and keeping the spirit of space firmly in mind, CNES will of course continue to work with its space partners in the United Kingdom and all over the world to support efforts to curb climate change, to develop exploration missions with our fantastic astronaut ambassadors and to invest through its programmes in new technologies.”