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France announces a “major” investment of 9 billion euros over three years

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borneo’s speech at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris on September 18, 2022 (Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

France is preparing to invest more than 9 billion euros in the space sector over the next three years, an envelope that includes many of the credits already voted, Elisabeth Borne announced on Sunday at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris.

“In total, France is preparing to invest more than 9 billion euros in the space sector over the next three years, for research and our space industry,” declared the prime minister at the opening of the IAC, which brings together several thousand representatives of the world space community until Thursday.

These “big” investments are part of the space strategy defined by President Emmanuel Macron last February, she emphasized.

“The first strategy is to maintain with Europe our autonomy of access to space” and for this “we need strong means and cutting-edge research”, Ms Borne pleaded, detailing launch vehicle ambitions (Ariane 6), industrial competitiveness and exploration. , climate and defense.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (d), astronaut Thomas Pesquet (c) and Cnes (National Center for Space Studies) director Philippe Baptiste at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris on September 18, 2022
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (r), astronaut Thomas Pesquet (c) and Cnes (National Center for Space Studies) director Philippe Baptiste at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris on September 18, 2022 (Emmanuel DUNAND /AFP)

The €9 billion envelope includes credits for the space component of France’s 2030 investment plan (€1.5 billion), the trajectory funds of the research programming law voted to 2030, a “massive” resource for CNES (national Center for Space Studies), as also the law on military programming for the years 2019-2025 (5 billion euros).

It also includes another French contribution to the budget of the European Space Agency (ESA), which will be voted on at the ministerial conference in November in Paris. The exact budget of France will be determined on this occasion, Matignon specified.

ESA intends to ask its 22 member states for around €18 billion to fund its programs over the next three years.

Cnes President Philippe Baptiste welcomed the quantified “real ambitions of the state in the field of space, which are materialized by this trajectory”. “It is an ambitious envelope with almost 25% additional investment compared to the last three years,” he told AFP.

The envelope provided by the executive “will allow the entire space ecosystem – Cnes, the space industry and the scientific community – to find the most efficient way to allocate credits by the end of the year,” said Jean-Marc Astorg, director of strategy for the French space agency.

After her speech to thousands of delegates, the Prime Minister met with representatives of CNES, the host of the IAC, as well as with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

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