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CNES promotes French-Indian NewSpace contacts
Megha-Tropiques climate-monitoring satellite. © CNES

CNES promotes French-Indian NewSpace contacts

Speaking in New Delhi, Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of French space agency CNES, has underlined the importance of relations between private “NewSpace” players in India and France.

Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of French space agency CNES, has underlined the role played by the agency in nurturing relations between private “NewSpace” players in India and France.

Le Gall was in New Delhi to take part in the 4th Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Kalpana Chawla Space Policy Dialogue. This yearly event has established itself as a neutral and open forum to discuss the Indian space sector’s competitiveness and its position in the international space arena.

Le Gall underlined the importance that CNES attaches to working more closely with new space players, in particular India, which it sees as one of the world’s major NewSpace development hubs. Citing the partnerships that CNES has engaged with several Indian start-ups, he described a symbiotic relationship through which traditional agencies should be seeking to help the NewSpace players, who he says are set to become the future drivers of the space industry.

By working with CNES, Le Gall said, these young private Indian newcomers are nurturing particularly promising ties with French players that will prove profitable to both ecosystems.

The CNES president also pointed to the climate-monitoring missions France and India have worked on together, which have served as a model in this domain. Two French-Indian satellites already in orbit, Megha-Tropiques and SARAL-AltiKa, are providing data for climate research and operational applications like monsoon forecasting, food security and water resource management.

They will be joined later this year by the joint Oceansat 3 - Argos mission, while studies are under way for a future thermal infrared satellite.

On the sidelines of the event, Le Gall met his Indian counterpart K. Sivan, recently appointed as the new Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Head of the Department of Space. Their discussions confirmed India’s desire to boost cooperation between CNES and ISRO in new areas of interest like launchers, as well as CNES’s participation in future Indian missions to Mars.

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