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Major Space Agency Heads Hold Virtual Meeting

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 11, 2020
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Translated from French by Google Translate

PARIS (CNES PR) — Tuesday, June 9, fifteen heads of space agencies from around the world (European Space Agency (ESA), Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, News – Zealand, Russia, United Kingdom) participated, at the invitation of NASA, in a virtual meeting to exchange their points of view on the progress of human and robotic exploration. 

Because of COVID-19, this meeting could not be held, as every year, at the time of the Colorado Springs Space Symposium initially scheduled for the end of March. 

The heads of agencies made an overview on the exploitation of the international space station, the exploration of Mars and more particularly on the international partnerships of the Artemis program, concerning the exploration of the Moon.

Since the adoption in 2017 of the Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) by the American Executive and NASA, the American commercial private sector has benefited from strong institutional support which is driving a dynamic revival of space exploration for United States. 

In the past two months, the United States has stepped up bilateral initiatives aimed at consolidating the legal, legal and technical framework covering the development of commercial activities in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and deep space, the appropriation of resources and the human exploration of the Moon with international partners. 

During this meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, highlighted France’s action, both within the framework of ESA programs and multilateral cooperation. 

The robotic and human exploration projects of the Moon, as well as the robotic missions to Mars and the asteroids represent a strong scientific and technical interest and will allow to prepare the human exploration of Mars. 

At the scientific level, exploration activities at CNES are defined in coherence with the priorities of the Scientific Programs Committee (planetology, exobiology, microgravity).

The President of CNES also mentioned the role of leader of the French space industry in the Artemis program, specifically with the project management of the ESPRIT module of the future cis lunar space station Gateway. 

Industrial activities include the development of valuable technologies such as the refueling and communications system as well as the supply of equipment for the I-HAB housing module. 

Jean-Yves Le Gall highlighted France’s major expertise in Mars exploration programs, with historic cooperation on major programs like Curiosity, InSight and Mars 2020 Perseverance. Mars is of great interest to the French scientific community.

The President of CNES also recalled the solidarity of CNES with the commitment of ESA made in 2016 on Europe’s participation in the operation of the station until 2024 and in the preparation of its future, notably vis -to its exploitation by the private sector by 2030.