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ASI and CNES confirm Italian-French space cooperation agreement

At an Italian-French inter-governmental summit meeting in Paris today, the presidents of the two space agencies signed an agreement to step up cooperation in key space sector areas: Satellite Telecommunications, Earth Observation, Science, Launchers, Horizon 2020, Innovation and Space Technology Transfer, and Stratospheric balloons

24 February 2015

The drive to strengthen cooperation between the Italian Space Agency and the Centre National d'Études Spatiales continued today with the signature of an agreement by the respective presidents, Roberto Battiston and Jean-Yves Le Gall, confirming bilateral cooperation in the space sector. The signature of the document was part of an important inter-governmental summit between Italy and France held in Paris today, led by Italian premier Matteo Renzi and French premier François Hollande. 

Roberto Battiston commented that “Italy and France have the longest-running relationship in the field of cooperation within the space sector. The signature of the Memorandum of Intent confirms this: as usual, we reiterated our strong agreement, clear desire to collaborate and strategic continuity together with CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall. Today, we wanted to focus on the importance we place on developing higher education and providing further opportunities for exchanging researchers, promoting cooperation in the industrial sector and setting up work groups to encourage shared projects in response to European Commission calls to tender”. 

The document sets out a series of areas of common interest, including Satellite Telecommunications, Earth Observation, Science, Launchers, Horizon 2020, Innovation and Space Technology Transfer, and Stratospheric Balloons, which will be defined and developed in specific implementation agreements for each area. 

For Satellite Telecommunications, ASI and CNES will be setting up a joint work group to study the use of the Ka and Q bands, with the goal of allowing the two Agencies to improve the propagation models in these frequency bands and a strong interest in developing future broadband satellites such as the European commercial THD-SAT satellite. 

Regarding Earth Observation and in particular climate change, emergency and risk management and environmental monitoring, the Italian-French cooperation intends to improve the use of hyper-spectral, SAR and optic satellites.  

In the scientific segment, ongoing cooperation for projects to develop instruments for the ESA, JUICE and ATHENA missions will continue.  

For the Launchers area, three fields of interest were identified: reusable propulsion and launcher pads, researching pressure oscillation phenomena using the experience gained from the POD-X cooperation, and exchanges in the education sector.  

With reference to the Horizon 2020 program, the priorities identified include the two flagship programs Galileo (GNSS applications, R&D for space infrastructures) and Copernicus (services evolution, downstream services, data access and use).  

To promote innovation and space technology transfer, a work group will be set up to exchange the experience and best practices relating to setting up and organising ESA BICs (Business Incubation Centres). The agreement also centres on promoting exchanges and cooperation in the industrial sector, with B2B meetings between the existing regional industrial groups and districts (Aerospace Valley and Pegase in France, the Italian incubator for Aerospace Technology and Regional aerospace districts in Italy).