France-Luxembourg space cooperation - first CNES-LSA workshop

France’s Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) and the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) held a first workshop on 23 September by videoconference to consider possible areas for cooperation and begin negotiations on a future framework agreement.

A first framework agreement was signed in 2009 between CNES and Luxembourg’s Ministry of Research. Created in September 2018 within the Ministry of the Economy, LSA was established with the goal of fostering the development of the national space industry while supporting firms in this sector, notably through national and European R&D programmes, funding and education.

Since 2016, with the launch of its initiative, Luxembourg has also made space exploration and utilisation of space resources a priority. It is within this context that this first workshop between CNES and LSA was held.

At the workshop, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall presented CNES’s three key areas of focus:

  • Innovation, through space projects seeking to improve citizens’ lives and serve their economic and social needs
  • Climate, using satellites to study and develop new understanding
  • Exploration

He also pointed to initiatives that CNES has adopted in recent years to spur the space sector’s development, notably those matching LSA’s priorities. These include ConnectByCNES, which involves working closely with communities, industry clusters, incubators, innovation hubs and co-working spaces, and the CosmiCapital innovation fund aimed at boosting investment, with an annual injection of some €20 million. The latter also acts as a catalyst for other financial stakeholders.

Utilisation of space resources and funding tools for the space sector were among the other issues addressed by the two agencies.

“This workshop has given us a great opportunity to forge new ties with LSA and step up our cooperation. We are working towards a new framework agreement to extend this cooperation to new areas which will enable us to work together on economic issues to meet the challenges and opportunities being shaped by the major shifts in our sector” commented Jean-Yves Le Gall.              

Marc Serres, CEO of LSA, added: “The space sector is undergoing a deep transformation. This workshop not only gave us the chance to inject fresh impetus into the cooperation between Luxembourg and France, but also to discuss initiatives geared towards driving this evolution. Our discussions were very constructive and enabled us to identify potential partnership opportunities. I believe we have a very bright future to look forward to.”

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