France, China to Cooperate on Earth Observation, Lunar Exploration and More

PARIS (CNES PR) — Monday, September 28, 2020, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, met with Zhang Kejian, Administrator of the CNSA (China National Space Administration). 

Their last meeting took place in Beijing on November 5, 2019 on the occasion of the official visit of the President of the Republic to China and the signing of the Joint Declaration on Cooperation Relating to the Chang’e 6 Mission and a Mission satellite for monitoring the water cycle.

The President of CNES and the Administrator of CNSA took stock of the progress of discussions on these two missions and agreed to organize new technical meetings by the end of the year. Cooperation on Chang’e 6, the launch of which is now scheduled for 2023, aims to win the French instrument DORN, offered by IRAP (Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology). 

DORN’s scientific objectives are to study the transport of volatile elements through regolith and in lunar dust and exosphere. On March 25, 2019, the CNES and the CNSA had expressed their intention to cooperate on Chang’e 6. Chang’e is the CNSA’s lunar exploration program which notably enabled in January 2019,

The two parties also reaffirmed their attachment to a mission of monitoring the water cycle, ambitious both at the scientific and technological level. All of the data collected will be very important to better understand climate change. France and China are also continuing the deployment of the SCO (Space Climate Observatory) in order to integrate space data in the fight against climate change and its impacts.

MM. Le Gall and Zhang also welcomed the advancement of the SVOM program in a very difficult context and took note of the launch date, June 2022. Finally, they were delighted with the richness of the cooperation and made a commitment, in despite the global health context, to maintain the momentum of cooperation, both through meetings of experts from the two countries and through frequent contacts at their level.