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Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
  The French space agency, CNES, was created in 1961 by the French government. CNES is a public establishment with an industrial and commercial profile, in charge of the development of French space activities. CNES' mission is to make proposals to the government concerning the orientations of space policy in France. It then carries out the chosen programs in collaboration with its partners in industry, research, and defense organizations. The budget managed by CNES in 2010 is 1416 M€, including 685 M€ for the French participation to the ESA budget.

CNES Centers :

In order to carry out its activities CNES has four main centers, each doted with its own competence and specific mission :

  • Headquarters in Paris;
  • The Launch Division (DLA), located in Paris, responsible for all missions associated with space transport;
  • The Toulouse Space Center (CST) in charge of program preparation and development and for running operational systems;
  • The Guiana Space Center (CSG) at Kourou (French Guiana), the launch and test base.

Role of CNES :

CNES conducts French space policy in two complementary directions:

  • by participating in the programs of the European Space Agency (ESA) in which it plays a major role,
  • by carrying out a dynamic national program, to guarantee strong industrial competitiveness worldwide.

CNES has 2,400 employees spread over its different sites and generates industrial activities representing more than 10,000 jobs in France.

Space debris

In the field of space debris, CNES activities cover 4 main areas: technical studies, mitigation measures, operations and international cooperation.

  • Technical studies: the objectives of the technical studies are to obtain a better knowledge of the environment through ground or space-based measurements, to study materials and techniques limiting the production of debris and to develop the required software tools. These studies are conducted internally and in the frame of a Research and Technology plan.
  • Mitigation measures: taking benefit of the experience gained through the development and implementation, first of the CNES standard, then on the European Code of Conduct on Space Debris, CNES prepared the Technical Regulations in the frame of the new French Space Act: the space debris requirements are compliant with the ISO 24113 standard and fully in-line with the IADC and UN-COPUOS Mitigation Guidelines.
  • Operations: CNES is in charge of controlling several (18 in 2010) national satellites. This includes end of life operations in LEO and GEO. The collision risk monitoring is also a routine activity with the support of several tracking facilities. When necessary an avoidance maneuver is performed.
  • International cooperation: the need for similar regulations on space activity imply greater cooperation between the various actors. This is done at European level with the other Space Agencies and at international level through an active participation within IADC. In addition CNES is an important technical support to the French delegation at the UN-COPUOS (United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space).