The Chief Executive of the French Republic, Elizabeth Bornerevealed on September 18 to the global space community gathered in Paris that the Executive Branch she heads is “ready to invest more than 9 billion euros in space over the next three years”.
The woman, in whom re-President Macron has placed his trust to guide the nation’s politics and governance, made her commitment public in her opening address at the 73rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held in the Seine city of on 18 to 22 September under the theme “Room for everyone”.
As Chair of the Council of Ministers for the past four months, Borne said so to a packed audience of the world’s top space executives “We are living through a period of great change, geopolitical imbalances and tidal waves such as climate change and digital transformation, and to overcome them, space will be crucial.”.
Elisabeth Borne is a 61-year-old Parisian, a road, canal and port engineer with experience in three different ministerial portfolios since Emmanuel Macron came to power in mid-May 2017. She said that space is a “field of confrontation” in which Paris will invest more than 9 billion euros – 24% more than in the previous three-year period – to implement the space strategy defined by President Macron in Toulouse last February.
Given the strategic importance of the sector for France, this billion amount is the sum of various funds, most of which are already included in the next budgets. taken together, They focus on having “the greatest possible impact on our research, our industry and our fellow citizens” on the four “ambitions” that France has set itself.
euros for the four Paris Space Ambitions
One of them is climate monitoring and participating in scientific adventures and explorations. Another is the delivery of services from orbit and satellite constellations, such as designing a European system of secure space telecommunications, which she stressed is “essential to our national security”.
Another no less important goal cited by the Prime Minister is it “Take over the military part of our space power”, a chapter for which the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law provides an allocation of €5 billion. “We cannot be naïve about the militarization of space,” she said.
“We must adapt and equip ourselves with space equipment to maintain our national strategic autonomy in assessing the situation, making decisions and conducting operations.” It is also about defending national interests in this environment, “also actively,” she said.
But what is France’s primary space ambition? Its main priority, the cornerstone on which the architecture of the space building conceived by the French authorities rests, is to have an independent and sovereign ability to travel and position objects in space orbit and beyond.
That’s what Elisabeth Borne said in her speech “We must take into account the European preference for launches, become more competitive and build large launch projects”. She added: “I’m thinking of Ariane 6, but also reusable mini and micro launchers”.
Significant presence of Spanish industry and total absence of Russia
More powerful, less expensive – in theory – than the Ariane 5 it will replace, but not reusable like Elon Musk’s American Falcon 9 with which it will compete in the international market, the Ariane 6 suffers delay after delay in its development. Everything indicates that it is already doomed to postpone its maiden flight once more. ESA is expected to announce in the near future that its first launch will not take place in the rest of 2022 but in the first or second quarter of 2023.
Additionally, the war in Ukraine and Moscow’s blocking of Russian Soyuz launchers from French Guiana have meant that Ariane 5 is now the only European vehicle contracted by the large, heavy satellites contracted to Arianespace, the European launch services company , into space . The last such launch was on September 7, when one of the most recently built Ariane 5s launched French operator Eutelsat’s 6.5-ton Konnect VHTS platform into orbit.
The International Astronautical Federation, which organizes the congress, and CNES, which sponsors it, expect around 8,700 professionals from 113 countries to attend. The IAC in Paris houses a large exhibition hall with almost 250 stands where agencies, institutions and companies from the sector present their initiatives and products.
Organized jointly by ICEX Spain and the CDTI, the Spanish Pavilion hosts 14 companies: Alen, Anzen Engineering, Arquimea, AVS, Comet, Deimos, DHV, Emxys, GMV, Ienai Space, Madridspace, Pangea, Prosix Engineering and Satlantis.
In contrast, there is a noticeable absence not only in the exhibition area, but also among the authorities and the speakers and speakers of the managers and engineers. The Russian federal space agency Roskosmos does not take part in the Paris Astronautics Congress.
Roscosmos explained this in a statement to the French authorities “have denied entry visas to most members of the official delegation sent by the Federal Agency to the IAC in Paris”. The reaction of the new Director General Yuri Borisov, in agreement with President Vladimir Putin, was to cancel Russia’s official presence at the biggest space event of the year.