European Investment Fund & CNES Sign Agreement to Support Small & Medium Enterprises in Space Sector

KOUROU, French Guiana (CNES PR) — On Wednesday June 22, 2022, Jean-Marc Astorg, Director of Strategy at CNES, and Alain Godard, Managing Director of the European Investment Fund (EIF) signed a partnership agreement at the Guiana Space Center to support SMEs and companies intermediate sizes in the space sector. This in the presence of Kris Peeters, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), responsible for the space and defense sector for the institution, and Marie-Anne Clair Director of the Guiana Space Center.

At the beginning of the year, the EIF and the ESA formalized a similar agreement. The agreement comes five months after the launch by Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, of the CASSINI system supported by the European Union and whose implementation has been entrusted to the EIF. The CASSINI initiative, which aims to mobilize more than one billion euros, is intended to support the development and growth of start-ups in the space sector in order to stimulate private investment in this growing economic sector.

This long-term partnership between CNES and the EIF falls within the context of the CNES Objectives and Performance Contract (2022-2025) under which CNES is responsible for strengthening the competitiveness of the French space sector, by supporting the diversification of players in the ecosystem, by focusing on the development of disruptive technologies but also by implementing new models of partnership and co-investment with industry. It accompanies the transition from an infrastructure economy to a data economy, by bringing out new uses and services.

This cooperation establishes a desire for coordination between the parties around 4 main axes:

  • Ability to build activities in support of investments in activities related to the space sector;
  • Knowledge sharing;
  • Advice and coordination on capacity building;
  • Access to finance and promotion of markets.

The EIF and the EIB, major players in the financing of projects in the EU and in France, wish to strengthen their presence in the European space sector with a financing ambition of approximately 1 billion euros per year for these markets.

On the sidelines of this signature, the EIF and EIB delegation was able to take full measure of the commitment of CNES and its partners (Arianespace, ESA, French Guiana Region) for the modernization of French Guiana space as part of the efforts to decarbonization and the arrival of the new Ariane 6 launcher. She also met economic and institutional players in the French Guiana region.