November 30, 2017

‘The race to space’CNES at the forefront of exploration and innovation at Futurapolis

 CNES was in the spotlight at THE Futurapolis forum in Toulouse, which brings together business leaders, scientists, thinkers and public figures with a passion for technology to debate about innovation and high-tech. The agency’s President, Jean-Yves Le Gall, spoke during the round table session on ‘La ruée vers l’espace’ (‘The Race to Space’) moderated by Etienne Gernelle, the Director of Le Point magazine. Alongside Richard Heidmann, Vice-President of the non-profit association Planète Mars, and astrophysicist Anne-Marie Lagrange, he underlined the success of France’s space sector, to which CNES is contributing through its efforts to sustain one of Europe’s main success stories, with the launch of new Galileo satellites just days away. He also pointed to the key role of international cooperation in space, citing the example of the International Space Station (ISS) and the need to pool efforts, practices and expertise to pursue this fantastic human adventure and reach for new frontiers outside Earth orbit and on Mars.

CNES also grasped this opportunity to spotlight the top places of science and engineering culture in Toulouse, the seat of the agency’s Toulouse Space Centre (CST) and its 1,500 employees, the ‘beating heart’ of CNES. During the two-day event, visitors were able to see and test the latest cutting-edge innovations in the ‘lab’, a demonstration area where CNES was also present. The agency has a portfolio of several hundred patents and is working alongside industry and SMEs to spin off technologies, software and expertise conceived with its partners. Futurapolis thus gave it the chance to showcase some of its know-how and its ability to boost innovative projects.

The mock-up of the Ariane 5 launch pad and launcher on CNES’s stand attracted large numbers of visitors who were able to stroll around the launch complex and even climb atop the more-than-50-metre-high launcher. Start-ups partnering CNES included SnapPlanet, a social network offering near-instant access to very-high-resolution images of almost anywhere on Earth, any time. These images from the European Sentinel-2 Earth-observation satellites are now available to a wide audience. SnapPlanet is a result of CNES’s spin-off programme. 

At the hub of a burgeoning ecosystem of start-ups, entrepreneurs, laboratories, research scientists and manufacturers, CNES thus gave a glimpse of its work developing space applications at the Futurapolis innovation forum.

Fabienne Lissak    Head of Media    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37
Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51