On the occasion of the state visit by French President François Hollande, Canada and France signed a new space cooperative agreement last week. The agreement comes on the heels of another one signed with Israel at the recent International Astronautical Congress on Toronto in early October.
The new agreement between the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency, is a follow-up agreement to a framework agreement signed in 2011.
The agreement will see stepped up cooperation in three areas:
– Space remote sensing of the ocean environment and climate in the Arctic, seeking to identify potential synergies between CNES’s OCAPI (Ocean Colour Advanced Permanent Imager) and CSA’s RADARSAT projects, in particular to observe Canada’s Far North and the North-West Passage.
– Research and development in healthcare, through joint research on the International Space Station (ISS), as CNES and CSA both recognize the importance of space technologies in the field of public safety and health.
– Space-based search-and-rescue systems; as participating nations, France and Canada share the goal of securing the long-term future of the Cospas-Sarsat programme in view of the thousands of lives it has saved since its inception.
Present for the signing were CSA interim President Luc Brûlé and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall along with Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French Minister for Education, Higher Education and Research, and David Lloyd Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
After the signing of the agreement, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “We have forged ever closer cooperative ties with our Canadian colleagues in recent years, as illustrated by our joint activities. Today, we are stepping up our joint efforts and renewing our ambitions to do more together in areas as diverse as climate studies, healthcare and search-and-rescue applications.”