UK and France agree space cooperation

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The UK Space Agency and France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) have agreed a deal to work more closely on space projects.

The agreement includes £15m of UK investment and projects for immediate collaboration include an instrument for EUMETSAT, the next generation of European weather satellites that are expected to enhance the value of weather forecasting services, and the CNES/NASA project on global fresh water distribution.

The CNES/NASA mission is being designed to conduct the most comprehensive global survey of Earth’s surface water, using the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite. SWOT will measure how water bodies on Earth change over time, helping the improvement of ocean circulation models, weather and climate predictions, and freshwater management around the world.

Today’s agreement also paves the way for joint work on telecommunications, space weather and research and technologies in the space field.

The agreement was signed by Dr David Parker, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of CNES.

In a statement Dr Parker, said: ‘Space is a growing global business, with a growing importance to the world economy. To build on our country’s success in the global space market, make the most of the sector’s many benefits and to meet increasingly international challenges, we need to build strong relationships with other space-faring nations.

‘Renewed collaboration between the UK Space Agency and CNES will help us meet common goals and find new opportunities for our scientific and industrial partners in the space sector.’

Today’s agreement forms part of the UK-France Summit 2014 that has so far seen the two nations make commitments on the construction of new nuclear power stations, and a strengthening of defence cooperation through initiatives that include a two year joint feasibility study into a future air combat aircraft.