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Italian-French space cooperation

Conference at the La Sapienza University in Rome, preceded by a bilateral meeting between the presidents of the ASI and CNES, ahead of the ESA Ministerial meeting in Luxembourg in December 2014

The French space policy was the focus of the "Space & positions to priorities of France" conference, that the President of the French space agency, Jean-Yves Le Gall, held on the afternoon of May 30, at the Engineering Faculty of the La Sapienza University in Rome.

The event was attended by the new president of the Italian Space Agency, Professor Roberto Battiston and the French Ambassador to the Italian Republic, Alain Le Roy, at Palazzo Farnese since January 2012.

Doing the 'honours' was Professor Marcello Onofri, Professor of Aerospace Engineering of the University of Rome, while the Italian ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, among the guests of the large audience, spoke very briefly to extend a greeting to those present "and most importantly - he pointed out – to the students".

"I'm happy for this new meeting with Roberto Battiston in the historic setting of the Sapienza" commented Le Gall during his long conference, where - after briefly tracing the main 'stages' of the CNES history - presented in detail the priorities of the French space policy gathered in the Ambition 2020 'roadmap'.

"CNES and ASI are long-standing partners - said the number one of the French Agency, who recalled the many programs through which the two countries have strengthened their cooperation - and have a strong complementarity and ability to work with remarkable efficiency both bilaterally and through the European framework (...) There is hope - concluded Le Gall - for the results of the next ESA Ministerial Conference".

The Sapienza Conference was preceded by a bilateral meeting between the leaders of the two agencies, ASI and CNES, during which all the major issues on the table for the next ESA Ministerial meeting, scheduled for December 2, 2014 in Luxembourg, were taken into consideration.

On the agenda, all the files of the ESA-EU affairs, the development of European launchers (Ariane and Vega) and the future use of the International Space Station.

Particular attention has been given to the further strengthening of cooperation between CNES and ASI, strengthened following the recent launch of the French-Italian telecommunications satellite Athena-FIDUS. A cooperation that in recent years, as repeatedly pointed out during the Sapienza Conference both by Le Gall and by Battiston, has been of great bilateral and European value.

"The opportunity of the Italian led EU semester - said Roberto Battiston - offers important insights for space collaboration between Italy and France to strengthen the European system linked to the activities of this sector. At today’s meeting we found strong points of convergence that will be developed, emphasizing the importance of how it is necessary to proceed with a clear intention of cooperation and strategic continuity in Europe, otherwise, the major programs cannot be accomplished. Relations between Italy and France - concluded Battiston - are the longest and most intense in the space sector cooperation and today's meeting with the President of the CNES, Jean-Yves Le Gall, confirms this".