France-India space cooperation extended to partnership for human spaceflight

Indo-French working group on human spaceflight.

Bangalore, 6 September 2018

CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and ISRO Chairman K. Sivan announced today the creation of an Indo-French working group on human spaceflight, thus following up on one of the main commitments made by President Emmanuel Macron during his State visit to India. CNES and ISRO will pool their expertise in the fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems. Engineering teams have already begun discussions and it is envisioned that infrastructures such as the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations or the MEDES space clinic will be used for training of future Indian astronauts, as well as exchanges of experts.

This new area of space cooperation between France and India is being established in the wake of the recent announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a manned spacecraft will be launched from Indian soil by 2022. The cooperation was unveiled at the biennial Bengaluru Space Expo, the biggest space show in Asia. Present as guest of honour at the sixth edition of the event, Jean-Yves Le Gall underlined the unique and exemplary nature of the Indo-French space cooperation. With this year’s show focusing on NewSpace, Jean-Yves Le Gall recalled CNES’ support to French NewSpace players to nurture their international development and to new exploratory partnerships established with the main Indian NewSpace players.

Taking pride of place at the CNES stand, Indo-French space cooperation spans climate monitoring, with a fleet of joint satellites devoted to research and operational applications, innovation, through a joint technical group tasked with inventing the launch vehicles of tomorrow, and NewSpace partnerships in India, as well as deep-space exploration, with work underway on France’s contribution to future Indian missions to Mars, Venus and asteroids. The joint Oceansat3-Argos mission scheduled to be launched next year, the Indo-French Trishna thermal infrared imaging satellite are being readied, and a study to develop a joint constellation of satellites for maritime domain awareness is also underway.

At the end of his trip, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “In pledging to launch a ‘vyomanaut’ by 2022, Prime Minister Modi has thrown down one of the biggest challenges in the history of space in the years ahead. CNES is especially proud to be working on this endeavour alongside ISRO to share the experience it has acquired from the first French human spaceflights to Thomas Pesquet’s Proxima mission, and to hone our own expertise by learning from ISRO’s innovative developments in the field of crew transport.”

Last modified on 01/10/2018

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