France & Russia Agree to Expand Space Cooperation

MOSCOW (CNES) — On the occasion of the MAKS international air show in Moscow, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall met Dimitry Rogozin, Director General of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, Maxim Yakovenko, Head of Roshydromet, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, and Kirill Sypalo, Director General of TsAGI, the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute.

In 2018, CNES and Roscosmos signed a framework agreement on space science to promote new space projects and extend their cooperation to a broad range of fields including space biology, solar research with the Russian Interhelioprobe project, the use of French robotics and navigation expertise for Russia’s lunar exploration programme, planetology, universe science and climate monitoring.

The domain where cooperation is most advanced is to fly an experiment on the future Bion-M2 capsule set to launch in 2022, for which industrial development work overseen by CNES is underway. This experiment will be called MTB-2 for Mouse Telemetry on Bion-2, for which CNES’s President and Roscosmos’s Director General signed a joint implementation plan to pursue the cooperation already engaged between the two nations and confirm the agencies’ intention to work together on this project.

Tackling climate change is another of CNES’s priorities. Jean-Yves Le Gall thus underlined the need for Roshydromet’s support in establishing the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), a CNES initiative for which the founding document was signed last June at the Paris Show in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron, at a time when preserving the planet is an absolute priority.

CNES, Roshydhromet and Roscosmos have collaborated in the past on scientific balloon campaigns, a collaboration that CNES wishes to renew to support regular balloon flights. The first meeting of the SCO signatories will be held on 22 and 23 October during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2019) in Washington D.C.

Lastly, during his meeting with the TsAGI Director General, CNES’s President emphasized the fruitful cooperation between the two organizations and his wish to see it continued.