- Press Release
- Feb 6, 2023
Vice President Harris’ Meeting At NASA With President Macron
Readout of Vice President Harris’s Meeting with President Macron on Space Cooperation
Vice President Kamala Harris and President Emmanuel Macron of France met today at the headquarters of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington, D.C. as part of the State Visit, to highlight the strong U.S.-France partnership in outer space.
This meeting builds on their November 2021 meeting in Paris where they agreed to strengthen space cooperation across all sectors. Since that meeting, France has signed the Artemis Accords to guide civil use of space, the United States has joined the Space for Climate Observatory (SCO) to develop accessible tools for climate monitoring and adaptation, and the United States and France held the first Comprehensive Dialogue on Space to discuss cooperation on civil, commercial, and national security space initiatives. France announced yesterday the same commitment that the Vice President announced in April 2022 not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing.
The Vice President and President Macron agreed to strengthen U.S.-France space cooperation across civil, commercial, and national security sectors. They received a briefing from French and U.S. experts on climate science, and discussed how to better utilize space data to address the climate crisis. They also discussed expanded participation of the United States in SCO, and the upcoming launch of the U.S.-France Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission that will make the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water and comprehensively track changes over time.
The Vice President and President Macron also discussed space exploration with U.S. and French astronauts, including the continued importance of a crewed presence in low Earth orbit, including International Space Station operations, and the continued strengthening of joint investments in the exploration of the Moon and Mars.
Remarks by Vice President Harris and President Emmanuel Macron of France in Meeting on Space Cooperation
10:44 A.M. EST
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Good morning to everyone. President Macron, it is my pleasure — my great pleasure to welcome you to Washington, D.C., and to NASA headquarters.
France is a vital ally to the United States. And this visit demonstrates the strength of our partnership, of our friendship, and our cooperation, and truly all as — as the background to an enduring relationship between the United States and France, and one that is based on shared democratic principles and values.
I want to thank NASA Administrator Bill Nelson for hosting us today and for your very impressive year of leadership of NASA.
During your leadership, we redirected the trajectory of an asteroid. We successfully launched Artemis I, the mission, which is orbiting the Moon as we speak, in partnership with our French and European allies. In fact, the Administrator was able to show the President a mock-up of Artemis I, and it truly is quite impressive.
And, of course, we showed the world incredible images from the Webb Telescope, which was launched from French Guyana with a French launch vehicle.
So, Mr. President, today we have the occasion to celebrate the cooperation of our two nations in space. You and I have discussed this topic many times, including my visit in November in France, in Paris. And as a result of that meeting, a number of things happened.
One, the United States agreed to join the Space for Climate Observatory as a result of that meeting that you and I had. You and I created the Comprehensive Dialogue on Space. And we agreed to advance specific rules and norms in space — international rules and norms.
And the United States, of course, welcomes and is elated that France and the European Space Agency will continue operations at the International Space Station through 2030.
Today, we build on the progress that we have made. And today we will also identify additional areas of collaboration and cooperation.
Regarding the climate crisis, something you and I have discussed at length and which we agree is an existential threat, satellite technology and the data that it provides are critical to our efforts to combat and address the climate crisis.
In Paris, I made a commitment that the United States would join the French-led Space for Climate Observatory, which we formally did in June. Through this work, we will develop tools for decision-makers to better prepare for and respond to climate disasters such as wildfires, floods, and changing agricultural patterns.
And in two weeks, the United States and France will launch a satellite from Vandenberg, in my home state of California, which will conduct the first-ever global survey of the Earth’s water surface — the surface on the Earth of water.
It’s very exciting because this innovation will actually help us to improve water management and inform — and better inform agricultural decisions. And it will also help coastal communities around the world prepare for rising seas.
During my visit to Paris, we also agreed to create a Comprehensive Dialogue on Space. And this brings leading experts together from France and the United States to strengthen our commercial, our civil, and our national security cooperation. And they had a very productive meeting, actually, already this month.
Regarding rules and norms, we are working together to develop norms for the responsible and peaceful uses of outer space. And this is critically important work. To that end, Mr. President, I thank you for joining the Artemis Accords in response to my invitation during my visit with you. These accords are a set of principles that guide civil use in space. They contribute to a safe and transparent environment for space exploration, science, and commercial activities.
More specifically, regarding rules and norms and international rules and norms: In April, I made a commitment on behalf of the United States not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing. And I called on other nations to join us. I thank you, Mr. President, for your commitment, which was announced yesterday, to adopt this norm.
And finally, I believe space remains a place of undiscovered and unrealized opportunity. And for that reason, there is so much potential in terms of the work that nations can do there — and, in particular, when we work together based on shared principles and values.
To seize these opportunities, as the head of the National Space Council in the United States, I have focused on three priorities in particular, which is to expand our STEM workforce, to address the climate crisis in every way that is about building on the innovation and also creating a workforce to do that, and establish rules and norms to govern space activities in close partnership with the private sector.
In this mission, we are so very proud to work with France. The United States and France have partnered on space exploration for more than 60 years. In this time, we have made great strides. And yet, in so many ways, we are beginning a new journey together.
And so, with that, again, I welcome you, Mr. President, and I look forward to our ongoing work in this matter, including the work that we will do today. Welcome.
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you. Thank you very much, Ms. Vice President, dear Kamala. Thank you for hosting us and having this meeting all together.
And dear ministers, ambassadors, and administrators, I want to — to thank as well. And, NASA Administrator, to welcome us in this NASA headquarters. Thank you so much. And thank you for the great commitment in our cooperation.
I mean, you said everything, and — and I don’t want to repeat, because I want us to be engaged in a common discussion. But speaking about space is obviously speaking about both science and having this journey you mentioned. But this is, as well, the story of a great cooperation between our two countries. And we did a lot during the past decades together, and I think we can do a lot. And we have a lot of projects together.
And I want to thank you personally because, indeed, when you came one year ago in Paris, and we had this very long discussion, we — we decided together to strengthen this cooperation and to launch a strategic dialogue on space. And we did it, and we already delivered concrete results, based on the past experience between our research leaders, our academics, our astronauts, as well. And some of them are around this table, and I want to thank them for — for this commitment and their achievement.
Having said that, we want to work now very closely together indeed on climate and environment as one of the key verticals where we — we do believe, together, we have a common objective. Argos, launched more than 40 years ago, is a — 45 years ago now already — was the best evidence of this strong cooperation between our — our research agencies.
We have, and you mentioned them, on top of that, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography, with this launching the 12th of December, which will be the symbol of a new type of cooperation.
We will have the Space for Climate Observatory. And thank you for joining it. And I think this initiative was launched three years ago, but now our cooperation will accelerate at this point.
And we have, as well, the Atmosphere Observatory Sys- — System.
And all this — this initiative, we can launch together.
On all these issues, I want to thank our — our institutions and researchers, and I think our commitment is great.
Second, we have, indeed, exploration. James Webb Space Telescope is obviously one of the best examples of this cooperation and how we can team up and how science made in — on our side can — can help in working in common missions with — with you.
And you mentioned Artemis I, II, III. And we are very keen in participating, and we have here the — the French team. And Thomas is — is very keen on — and very excited — (laughter) — to be — to be part of — to be part of it.
And it’s very important for — for us, as long as you can — you can propose the French leader to fly to the Moon. Quite happily — (laughter) — we are — we are quite happy with — we are quite happy with that.
And Sophie is also now selected for participating to this international mission and follow up this common effort.
But I saw myself — with your presence, with our discussion with NASA teams, and so on — what — how strong is the partnership and how we can do more for — for the years to come.
And I think, from a scientific point of view and a human point of view, all these — all these upcoming changes regarding exploration — the Moon, Mars, and so on — are extremely important for us.
And I want to thank you for your leadership and to tell you our commitment to work closely together.
My last point is about norms, as you mentioned. Thank you for having launched these — these very important items. And I do believe, indeed, space is a new place for conflictuality.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Indeed.
PRESIDENT MACRON: And — and we have crazy players in the space as well, and we have rogue states there, and we have new hybrid attacks.
And I think it’s very important, together — because we do share this history. We do have the same commitment and attachment to science and progress. But we do share, as well, the same democratic values.
And I think building these new rules and setting them together is, for us, extremely important. It is why we decided to join, indeed, this first set of rules. And we will follow up.
My last point is to se- — to say that the more we can develop common research programs but, as well, common training programs is extremely important to us. And this is why our institutions are here.
We are very committed. I think our people knows each other very well.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Yeah.
PRESIDENT MACRON: And then, this is, indeed, about very complicated science and physics. I tried to be briefed during the past few days by our minister and our experts, and I did my best to understand, in the details, what’s — what was at stake.
But at the very end, it’s how to — to educate, train talent, and how to be sure they work closely together. This is why —
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Indeed.
PRESIDENT MACRON: — I do thank the presence, on both sides of the table, of our teams.
So, thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT MACRON: And thank you for your personal leadership and commitment on this issue.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you. It is wonderful to work with you, Mr. President. Thank you.
Okay, I look forward to our discussion. Thank you, press.
Q President Macron, are you concerned about — concerned about Ukraine funding under a House Republican leadership?
PRESIDENT MACRON: We will revert on all these issues during the State Visit. I think, here, we want to — to focus on — on space.
END 10:56 A.M. EST