California Space Authority, French Aerospace Valley Develop Closer Ties


Academics, corporate decision-makers and government officials from the French Aerospace Valley are concluding a week-long visit throughout California and key elements of its space enterprise community. Initiated by the French Embassy in the United States, the trip was organized by the California Space Authority (CSA) and designed to establish closer links and partnerships between the world’s two leading aerospace regions.

Led by Ambassador Jean-Daniel Tordjman, International Promotion of the French Competitive Clusters within the French Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Employment, the delegation had the full endorsement of the French Embassy, including a letter of introduction by the French Ambassador to the United State, Pierre Vimont.

“Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees, the two French regional governments that comprise our Aerospace Valley, including the Cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse, are eager and ready to enter into an ambitious partnership with the Great State of California, the California Space Authority and its members,” stated Ambassador Tordjman.

“In today’s difficult economy, the interest in creating aerospace jobs and educating our youth in the field of aerospace are two issues that bind us together. This mission will offer opportunities for us to jointly solve these issues.”

Discussions during the week focused on an interest in establishing a dialogue between the leadership of the French Aerospace Valley and the State of California and CSA, the creation of a student summer internship exchange program, the founding of a science and researcher exchange program, and a reciprocal delegation visit of California officials, including the Governor, CSA and aerospace executives to France and its Aerospace Valley, culminating in attendance at the Paris Air Show in June, 2009.

The Delegation began its journey in Sacramento and continued throughout the Bay Area and down to the Los Angeles Basis. Visitations included meetings with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office, the State Senate Office of International Trade, the State Assembly and Senate committees focusing on economic development, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, Aerojet, NASA Ames Research Center, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Stellar Solutions, Trimble, Space Systems/Loral, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Wyle Laboratories, Space Exploration Technologies, Quintron Systems, United Paradyne, El Camino College, Antelope Valley College, the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, and Southern California Edison. A final Delegation Appreciation Dinner will be hosted by CSA tonight at the Proud Bird in Los Angeles.

“In the midst of alarming global economic stresses, these discussions and networking sessions will lay the groundwork for reinforced partnerships between the Aerospace Valley of France and what we call the California Innovation Corridor,” stated Andrea Seastrand, Executive Director of CSA. “There are many areas of common strengths, concerns, challenges, and successful strategies that lend themselves to greater cooperation and collaboration. We look forward to the new and renewed opportunities this visit will offer to our members and to the greater California economy.”

The delegation included representatives from the French Embassy, the French Consulates in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, the regional governments of Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees, the City of Toulouse, the French National Space Center (CNES), educators from the University of Bordeaux and the French Institute for Aeronautics and Space (ISAE), and industry leaders from French aerospace companies such as Safran, Epsilon Ingenierie SAS, Spot Image, Thales Alenia Space and Helileo.