During a visit by Emmanuel Macron from France to NASA headquarters with US Vice President Kamala Harris, Paris and Washington pledged Wednesday to strengthen their collaboration in space, particularly on exploration and climate issues.
During his official visit to the United States, the French president highlighted the American lunar program Artemis, which launched the first unmanned test mission in mid-November with the participation of the European Space Agency (ESA).
“We’re very eager to join Harris,” he said, adding with a smile: “As long as you can suggest a French leader fly to the Moon fairly quickly, that’s very important to us,” he said. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet joining Macron for his NASA visit.
The two allies are also collaborating on the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope, the first images of which have already shaken our understanding of the universe.
On the climate front, Macron spoke about the planned December 12 takeoff of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, a NASA satellite developed in partnership with the French CNES that aims to monitor the levels of oceans, lakes and rivers.
“We are very proud to work with France,” said Harris, who chairs the White House’s National Space Council, noting how the two countries have partnered in space exploration for over 60 years.
“We’ve made great strides during this time and yet in many ways we are starting a new journey together,” he said.
The French leader recalled that when he visited Paris last year, Vice President Joe Biden joined Macron to “start a strategic dialogue on space.”
While Macron suggested that space could become a point of international contention, he and Harris stressed the importance of developing new norms of behavior in space.
In June, France joined the Artemis agreements sponsored by the United States; it is a set of principles that govern the behavior of different nations in deep space. The policies are aimed at resolving the conflict of activities, the implementation of security zones, the registration of space objects and coordination on emergency assistance.
France on Tuesday also pledged not to conduct tests of anti-satellite missiles that cause space debris that could later threaten orbiting spacecraft and satellites. The United States made that promise earlier this year.
© 2022 AFP
Quotation: At NASA, French Macron and US promise strong space cooperation (2022, 1 December) on 1 December 2022 at https://phys.org/news/2022-12-nasa-france-macron-vow-strong.html receipt
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