CNES is the French government space agency. CNES is the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (administratively, a "public establishment of industrial and commercial character"). CNES headquarters are located in central Paris. CNES operates out of the Guiana Space Center, but also has payloads launched from other space centres operated by other countries. CNES formerly was responsible for the training of French astronauts, however the last of them were transferred to the European Space Agency in 2001.
CNES access to Space
Assured access to space underpins any global, coherent space policy. France was the 3rd space power to achieve this distinction, sharing technologies with Europe to boost development of the Ariane launcher family.
International competition in space is fierce, so launch services must be tailored to space operators’ needs.
The new versions of Ariane 5 can launch large satellites or perform dual launches.
And the Vega and Soyuz small and medium-lift launchers are now set to round out this range.
Alongside its European partners, CNES also offers its expertise in satellite deployment.
Space resources are vital for learning more about the Earth and its evolution. Earth observation and measurements offer ways to ensure sustainable stewardship of our planet.
CNES and its partners in Europe-through the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative (GMES)-and around the world have put in place satellites dedicated to observing the land, oceans and atmosphere, as well as to hazard and crisis management.
The best-known are the SPOT satellites flying the Vegetation instrument, the Topex/Poseidon and Jason-1 oceanography satellites, the Argos system, Envisat and-in the near future-Jason-2 and the Pleiades constellation.
Civil applications of CNES.
Space technologies are set to offer society a number of advances in the coming years through the emergence of new services. Space is a great equaliser for bridging territorial disparities in education, health and citizenship. For example, CNES has developed the concept of a " communications-enabled village " that combines the high data rates offered by satellite technology with terrestrial technologies.
CNES is also taking part in the Galileo navigation programme alongside the European Union and Esa, and-in a wider international context-in the Cospas-Sarsat search-and-rescue system.
Security and Defence of CNES.
In an ever-more-complex world, independent information-gathering, location and civil and military intelligence capabilities are a prerequisite for good, independent and responsive decision-making.
In addition to Spot and the future Pleiades satellites, CNES is working for the defence community as prime contractor for the Helios satellites.
GMES-a joint initiative involving the EU, Esa and national space agencies-pools space resources to monitor the environment and protect populations, but it also encompasses satellite support for armed forces and for European organisations on humanitarian or peacekeeping missions.
Research and innovation by CNES.
Orbital telescopes such as Integral, XMM and Corot, and space probes like Mars and Venus Express, Cassini-Huygens and Rosetta, are revolutionising our knowledge of the Universe and our Solar System.
Recent satellites such as Demeter (earthquakes), Parasol and Calipso (radiation budget) and Megha-Tropiques (water cycle) are profoundly altering our understanding of the processes at work in the Earth system.
France’s contribution to the International Space Station is giving French scientists the opportunity to perform original experiments in microgravity.
CNES is also an innovator, and is currently studying formation flying, a technique whereby several satellites fly components of a much heavier and complex instrument in a tightly controlled configuration.
Announcement from CNES.
In December 2006, CNES announced that it would publish its UFO archive online by late January or mid-February. Most of the 6,000 reports have been filed by the public and airline professionals. Jacques Arnould, an official for the French Space Agency, said that the data had accumulated over a 30 year period and that they were often reported to the Gendarmerie.
In the last 2 decades of the 20th century, France was the only country with officially paid UFO investigators, employed by CNES's UFO section GEIPAN, later known as SEPRA.
Publication by CNES.
On Thursday, March 22, 2007, CNES released its UFO files to the public through its website. The 100,000 pages of witness testimony, photographs, film footage and audiotapes are an accumulation of over than 1,600 sightings since 1954 and will include all future UFO reports obtained by the agency.
The CNES has several tracking stations. Partial list:
History of CNES.