Germany and France to Pursue Closer Coopération Toward a Strong European Space Industry

Press Release From: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Professor Sigmar Wittig, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Centre DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt), and Yannick d'Escatha, President of CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales), held a first meeting of the joint Executive Committee on 3 July 2003 in Cologne, Germany, within the framework of the agreement the two agencies signed last year. The purpose of the meeting was to lay plans for closer cooperation and to define a strategic blueprint for a strong European space industry.

Said Sigmar Wittig: "closer cooperation between Germany and France in space will give fresh impetus to science and technology in Europe and enable us to play a bigger role on the international stage. This is a material and a political necessity to secure our future."

CNES President Yannick d'Escatha said he was looking forward to "increasing exchanges to strengthen the ties between our agencies so that we can capitalize on our complementary expertise; coordinating our positions more closely within ESA; and consolidating bilateral cooperation, in particular on Earth observation-a key area for GMES-and on future launch vehicles, telecommunications and satellite navigation."

French-German cooperation is crucial to boost Europe's presence in space, in particular to assure access to space through the Ariane 5 launcher, following the ESA Ministerial Council meeting on 27 May 2003. DLR and CNES, two strong partners working together under the agreement signed in 2002, shoulder over 50% of the work share in ESA programmes and more than 70% in launchers.

To assure Europe's long-term access to space, DLR and CNES have decided for 2003-2004 to:

Pursue closer cooperation in Earth observation by conceiving new space-based assets Exploit the complementarity between optical and radar data, and undertake actions to prepare for Europe's independent GMES programme (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security)-the next major challenge on the horizon after the Galileo satellite navigation programme Cooperate on the next generation of launch systems decided at the ESA Council meeting in May Develop joint positions aimed at establishing a European space strategy and space policy, including the role of space in the future European Constitution and preparation of the White Paper that will lay the framework for Europe's future space policy Craft proposals regarding the necessary reform of ESA's decision-making and funding processes, as part of European Union enlargement Strengthen cooperation on research and technology, in particular by capitalizing on the agencies' complementary areas of expertise The next meeting of the agencies' joint Executive Committee, scheduled early in 2004, will provide the opportunity to review the initial results of these cooperative efforts and define additional objectives.

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