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France and China Extend Space Cooperation During President Macron’s Visit

Jan. 11, 2018 (EIRNS)—French National Center for Space Studies (CNES) Administrator Jean-Yves Le Gall and Acting Administrator China National Space Administration (CNSA) Wu Yanhua signed a Memorandum of Understanding on space science, technology, and exploration on Jan. 9, during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to China. Both the French and Chinese Presidents attended the signing. Le Gall characterized the agreements as taking a "spectacular step forward."

France and China have nearly completed the China-France Oceanography Satellite (CFOSat) and in the new memorandum of understanding, it was agreed that there will be a wide dissemination of the data collected by the satellite. CFOSat will study waves and wind over the ocean surface for three years, to improve understanding of marine meteorology, ocean dynamics, and climate variability, Andrew Jones reported on the GBTimes website today. Such data will be applied to forecasting and tracking extreme weather events such as storms, and increasing understanding of complex ocean systems. It is scheduled for launch later this year from China.

The following day, President Macron visited the AIT Center of the China Academy of Space Technology, where CFOSat is being assembled and tested.

China and France will also collaborate on a space science mission, the Space Variable Objects Monitor, which will study gamma ray bursts, and is scheduled to launch no earlier than 2020.

China and France have a history of collaboration, particularly in space science, but this is being broadened. French astronauts, along with others in the European Space Agency, are learning Chinese, and training with Chinese colleagues in China. This, in preparation to participate in China’s space station. CNES head Le Gall told President Macron that France will be supplying medical instruments for the Chinese space station, according to Reuters.