Feb 05, 2014

15 million pound investment seals UK France space collaboration

Estimated Article Reading Time: 2 min.

The UK Space Agency and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) have agreed a deal to work even closer together on space activities. The agreement includes 15 million pounds of UK investment in key instruments for the next generation of European weather satellites and will enable UK scientists to conduct the most comprehensive global survey of Earth’s surface water.

The agreement paved the way for joint work on Earth observation, telecommunications, space weather and research and technologies in the space field, and was witnessed by the Prime Minister and President Hollande at the UK-France Summit at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Speaking in the Summit plenary at Brize Norton, Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said:

“Today is a major milestone in the future of British and French collaboration in space. This initial investment of 15 million pounds will develop two major areas of Earth observation technology. These projects will have huge scientific and economic benefits, providing detailed weather forecasting and water management across the world.

“Collaboration in telecommunications, space weather, greenhouse gas monitoring and space technology will strengthen the links between our countries. Space is one of the eight great technologies and our cooperation will shape the future of European space projects, keeping us at the front of the pack in the global race.”

Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) signed the agreement which recognises the role of space infrastructure in delivering the services of the future. The UK Space Agency and CNES have already identified projects where collaboration will be mutually beneficial, including telecommunications, navigation and weather forecasting.

Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Space is a growing global business, with a growing importance to the world economy. To build on our country’s success in the global space market, make the most of the sector’s many benefits and to meet increasingly international challenges, we need to build strong relationships with other space-faring nations.

“Renewed collaboration between the UK Space Agency and CNES will help us meet common goals and find new opportunities for our scientific and industrial partners in the space sector.”

Projects for immediate collaboration include an instrument for EUMETSAT – the next generation of European weather satellites, and the CNES/NASA project on global fresh water distribution.

The UK Space Agency-CNES agreement will strengthen the long-term relationship between the two agencies and build their contribution to space activities carried out through the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Union (EU) and other international organisations.