Speaking before an audience of students, Jean-Yves Le Gall set out CNES’s five chief areas of focus: launchers, with Ariane; science, with InSight-SEIS on Mars, MASCOT on asteroid Ryugu and the BepiColombo mission to Mercury; Earth observation, through CFOSat with China; telecommunications, with Galileo now nearing 1 billion users; and defence, with the agency’s four field centres contributing to the CSO-1 satellite. He then explained how all of these successes have been accomplished thanks to strong political backing (CNES’s budget in 2019 is up 14%) and the unique French ecosystem of universities, research laboratories, agencies, manufacturers and start-ups, supported by the excellence of CNES’s four field centres.
Jean-Yves Le Gall emphasized that CNES is a pivotal player at national, European and international level through its vital role in defence programmes, with scientists and in European institutions such as the European Space Agency (ESA), set to hold its next Council meeting at ministerial level in Seville in late November, as well as through its many fruitful partnerships in the fields of space exploration and climate action, and its involvement in global space events like the One Planet Summit and IAC 2021 in Paris.
CNES’s President also underlined that innovation is in the agency’s genes and remains one of the keys for Europe to keep pace with new players in a fiercely competitive global market. By focusing on disruptive, cheaper and more-effective programmes, CNES has shown its credentials in the domain of miniaturization to significantly reduce the cost of getting into space, notably through the development of ANGELS, the first series-produced French nanosatellite set to launch at the end of this year. And by fostering uptake of space technologies across a broad array of sectors including healthcare, mobility, agriculture, environment and security, it is helping to nurture new applications catering to citizens’ needs.
After his address, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “I am delighted to see so many students showing an interest in space, notably through this fine initiative led by UPEC, for which I would like to most warmly thank its Chancellor Jean-Luc Dubois-Randé. Space needs more engineers, more research scientists and more entrepreneurs. CNES’s expertise and ability to innovate is helping to sustain the French excellence that we will be relying on to meet the social challenges ahead of us.”
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