CNES around the world - An expert, nimble network
CNES has a network of correspondents in Europe and worldwide at embassies or similar structures representing France’s space policy interests.
Advisors or diplomats?
Catherine Ivanov-Trotignon in Brussels, Jean-François Dupuis in Berlin, Pierre-Henri Pisani in Moscow, Mathieu Weiss in Bangalore, Mathieu Grialou in Tokyo and Philippe Hazane in Washington D.C. are CNES’s international correspondents. Their prime task is to promote France’s space policy and the agency’s interests. They also work to nurture cooperation, compile science and engineering intelligence and prepare space missions. All of these functions make each correspondent an essential cog in the wheels of international space activities and call for a keen appreciation of cultural differences.
Some CNES representatives, like Philippe Hazane in Washington D.C. or Mathieu Grialou in Tokyo, work out of the French embassy. Others, like Mathieu Weiss in Bangalore, have their office at the city’s consulate. But in every instance, diplomatic, commercial or industrial contacts are a key element of the landscape.
Co-development sustains solid relations
Appointed by Jean-Yves Le Gall as CNES’s representative in India, Mathieu Weiss has been in Bangalore for a few months now. Soon after being elected, President François Hollande signalled his intention to forge closer technical ties between France and India, supported by an ambitious space cooperation plan. To this end, Mathieu Weiss wants CNES to extend collaborative endeavours outside the field of Earth observation to space exploration.
Another ambition he harbours is to establish long-term cooperation through co-development. For if India is today France’s third largest space partner in terms of the volume of exchanges, after the United States and Russia, it is down to 50 years of continuous cooperation. “The future lies with integrated French-Indian teams working in Toulouse and Bangalore. The Indians based in Vernon in the 1970s worked tirelessly to promote cooperation between France and India. Today, they remain strongly attached to our country and that’s a tremendous asset,” he says.
The launches of the Megha-Tropiques and SARAL satellites have demonstrated India’s capability: “India has a very different engineering culture to ours, based on resourcefulness, ingenuity and openness to all fields. It isn’t ‘stove-piped’ like in France,” our correspondent explains. “In India, everything has to be done within extremely tight budgets. In the future, we might need to learn from them to be more competitive ourselves.”