December 14, 2015

Space cooperation between France and Spain Bilateral meeting and visit to ESA Centre in Madrid

On Friday 11 December, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall travelled to Madrid to meet Begoña Cristeto, Secretary General for Industry and SMEs at the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and head of the Spanish delegation to ESA, to discuss issues relating to the French-Spanish space cooperation. The President of CNES also held talks with Alvaro Gimenez, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, at ESAC (the European Astronomy Space Centre) near Madrid.

France and Spain have been cooperating directly since 2005, mainly around ESA’s SMOS mission for which Spain financed the development of the payload ground segment. In 2006, CNES also signed a cooperation agreement with the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, leading to the development of dedicated software for the ground segment of the CoRoT mission.

Despite its economic difficulties, Spain’s rapidly rising financial commitment through its contribution to ESA shows its desire for increased involvement in the space sector, notably in the field of launchers but also in the areas of Earth observation, telecommunications and technological programmes.

Jean-Yves Le Gall held lengthy discussions with Begoña Cristeto about the challenges relating to ESA’s next ministerial conference, to be held in Lucerne in Switzerland in December 2016. The increasing rate of innovation across the globe and its impact on the space sector were at the heart of these discussions. The President of CNES went on to visit ESAC, a centre dedicated mainly to operations and the exploitation of data from ESA’s scientific missions. Accompanied by Alvaro Gimenez, it was an opportunity for the two men to discuss the issues linked to science and exploration.

Following his visit to Madrid, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “My discussions with Begoña Cristeto were particularly positive and show Spain’s desire to increase its level of influence within the European space sector, especially in the most innovative areas. In this regard, I am delighted to see the extent to which the next ministerial conference in December 2016 is already in people’s minds and how each feels implicated in the challenges that it presents. Building on its renewed ambition for innovation and its European centre of excellence for space science, it is clear that Spain will be one of the key players at that meeting.”

Pascale Bresson    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Alain Delrieu    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 04
Julien Watelet    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37