France is preparing to invest more than 9 billion euros in the space sector over the next three years, including many loans already voted, Elisabeth Borne announced at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris on Sunday.
“In total, France is preparing to invest more than 9 billion euros in the space sector over the next three years, for research and our space industry,” said the prime minister at the opening of the IAC, which gathers several thousand representatives of the world space community until Thursday.
These “big” investments are part of the space strategy defined by President Emmanuel Macron last February, she underlined.
“The first strategy is to maintain with Europe our autonomy of access to space”, and for this “we need strong resources and cutting-edge research”, declared Ms. Borne, detailing ambitions for launchers (Ariane 6), industrial competitiveness, research, climate and defense.
The €9 billion envelope includes credits for the space component of the France 2030 investment plan (€1.5 billion), those for the trajectory of the research programming law voted until 2030, “enormous” funds for Cnes (National Center for Space Studies) as and the law on military programming 2019-2025 (5 billion euros).
Also included is the next French contribution to the budget of the European Space Agency (ESA), which will be voted on at a ministerial conference in November in Paris. On this occasion, the exact budget of France will be determined, Matignon was told.
ESA intends to ask its 22 member states for around 18 billion euros to finance its programs over the next three years.
The president of Cnes, Philippe Baptiste, welcomed the quantitative “genuine ambition of the state for space that materializes in this trajectory”. “It is an ambitious framework, with almost 25% additional investment compared to the last three years,” he told AFP.
The envelope provided by the executive “will allow the entire space ecosystem – Cnes, the space industry and the scientific community – to find the most efficient way to allocate credits until the end of the year,” said Jean-Marc Astorg, director of strategies for the French space agency.
After addressing the thousands of delegates, the Prime Minister went to meet officials from CNES, the host of the IAC, as well as French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.