France To Invest $710 Million in Space Competitiveness
The French government on March 23 announced four launch vehicle and satellite projects that will receive a combined 500 million euros ($710 million) in state aid as part of a government bond issue designed to spur innovation.
The four projects are a next-generation rocket to succeed todayâ€™s Ariane 5 and Europeanized Soyuz vehicles; an ocean-altimetry satellite mission to be conducted with the United States; an upgraded multimission microsatellite platform for satellites weighing around 200 kilograms at launch; and investment in new telecommunications satellite technologies to keep French industry competitive on the world marketplace.
â€œFew nations have mastered as many areas of space technology as France,â€ French Research Minister ValÃ©rie PÃ©cresse said in announcing the grants. â€œInvestment in space is an investment in the future, in the many spinoffs of space activity and in tomorrowâ€™s jobs.â€
The French General Investment Commission spent months sifting through project proposals and still has not completed its review of up to 250 million euros in investment in projects related to the digital economy. One of these proposals is to invest in research on a next-generation broadband satellite system, including a ground network.
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