CNES

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The French Space Agency, CNES, was created in December 1961 in order to develop French space activities. Its activities and products cover all aspects in the field of innovation and research of new applications.

Missions

The role of the CNES is to propose, to the French government, directives concerning space policy and carry out, with its industrial partners, these programs.

The CNES is a major participant in the European Space Agency (ESA) and supports a dynamic national program which guarantees its industrial success on a world level.

The areas in which these policies are carried out are those in which strategic and economic challenges are the most important:

Access to space (Ariane, stratospheric balloons, parabolic flights).
Earth observation (Spot, Topex-Poseidon, and Jason, Polder, Envisat…).
Telecommunications (Stentor, Skybridge …) and localization (Argos, Sarsat-Cospas, Galileo…).
Study and exploration of the Universe (Mars Sample Return, XMM, Corot, Cassini-Huygens…).
Manned space flights and experiments in microgravity.

Throughout the years CNES has established privileged relationships with its partners :

  • by combining the needs of the consumers and the technical choices in the domain of space ;
  • by transferring its savoir faire towards French industry with the intention of increasing its competitively;
  • by supporting major scientific organizations through numerous research programs;
  • by helping developing countries to use space technology for to further knowledge, economic growth and resource management;
  • by participating in the building of a solid Defense program and developing partnerships with defense organizations, thus establishing a synergy between civil and military programs.

Key Figures

  • an annual budget of 1,881 million euros (2001).
  • 2,500 employees, including almost 70% engineers, technicians and executives.
  • 4 centres (Paris, Toulouse, Evry, Kourou).