THE FRENCH SPACE AGENCY
As a public establishment of an industrial and commercial nature (EPIC), CNES proposes France’s space policy to the government and implements it within five key strategic areas: Launchers, Science, Earth observation, Telecommunications and Defence.
Founded in 1961, CNES runs numerous projects as a part of European cooperation programmes, particularly alongside ESA whose leading contributor is France. It is also building partnerships with other major space players around the world (China, USA, India, Japan, Russia) and with the new space powers.
CNES employs around 2,500 people at its sites in Toulouse, Paris and Kourou.
In 1964, CNES set up operations in French Guiana to create the Guiana Space Centre, which it owns. Today, there are about 250 employees who carry out the following five main missions at the GSC:
COORDINATION OF LAUNCH OPERATIONS
CNES coordinates launch operations and preparations in order to guarantee the availability of GSC facilities and adapt them to the pace of the launches.
MANAGEMENT OF SATELLITE PREPARATION
CNES provides Ariane and Vega customers with the facilities and services needed to prepare for the launch of their satellites.
TRACKING OF THE LAUNCHER
Thanks to a network of antennas and radar, CNES ensures that the launcher is working properly so that it can be neutralised in the event of a failure.
PROTECTION OF PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
CNES implements preventive measures to protect people, property and the environment during launches and the preparatory operations leading up to them.
DESIGN THE FACILITIES
CNES teams are in charge of designing the facilities needed at the GSC to adapt to developments in the space sector.
In French Guiana, CNES also has the task of contributing to the economic development of the region alongside the Territorial Collectivity of French Guiana, the municipalities and the players in education, higher education and research.
CNES PARTNER COMPANIES
To ensure the maintenance, operation and functioning of the GSC, CNES relies on subcontractors spread across 14 companies or groups.