CNES – The French Space Agency

Space in France with CNES

Since its creation in 1961, CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), the French Space Agency, develops and implements the French space policy with the support of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Superior Education and Research.

The important budget of CNES (2 780 M€ in 2020, amongst which 1 400 M$ of contribution to the European Space Agency), illustrates that space is among the highest priorities of the French government. With an annual budget of 36 € per capita, the budget that France allocates to civil space activities is the 2nd highest in the World, behind the United States.

Being at the crossroads of Research and Industry, CNES also supports the French space ecosystem, from big traditional players to small startups, in their conquest of international markets. CNES is also an investor in many commercial enterprises, bringing in the support of the government to strategic commercial activities.

CNES’s vector of innovation also serves in boosting employment, as 80 % of the budget of CNES goes back to the French space industry and to research laboratories to develop new technologies, supporting some 20 000 workers in France.

International Cooperation

CNES has always aimed its space policy toward international collaboration, including through the development of more than 70 international partnerships with established spacefaring nations (in which CNES Representatives are permanently stationed) as well as with new emerging players.
The space collaboration between France and the United States is one of the most historical and iconic: France is the number one partner of the United States in Space and vice-versa.
This cooperation which benefits government actors as well as commercial and academic players, encompasses scientific and operational aspects:

  • Earth Sciences, with historical partnerships in the areas of oceanography and altimetry during the past 30 years (Topex-Poseidon, Jasons, SWOT, etc.);
  • Exploration of the Solar System, with iconic partnerships in the Mars exploration programs (Curiosity, InSight, Mars 2020, and soon the Mars Sample Return mission);
  • Universe Sciences, particularly in the areas of astrophysics and heliophysics (JWST, LISA, Solar Orbiter, etc.);
  • Operation of the International Space Station;
  • Space Situational Awareness and Space Traffic Management.

CNES Office in the United States

CNES has had a permanent office in Washington D.C. since 1965! Located in the Embassy of France in Washington D.C., the office has the dual role of representing CNES in the United States and counseling the Ambassador of France in the United States on space related matters. The CNES Office also works closely with the department of Science and Technology of the Embassy of France as well as with all the other departments of the French diplomatic services.

The Space Office of the Embassy therefore completes two main missions:

  • As Space Counselor of the Ambassador:
    • Represent the French space policy among the local space actors (public and private, French, European, American and foreign);
    • Inform and counsel his Excellency the Ambassador of France on matters related to French space policy and partnerships with the United States;
    • Actively exchange information with different diplomatic services of the Embassy implicated in space related issues;
    • Be the point of contact for American governmental entities related to space;
  • As Representative of CNES :
    • Represent the interests of CNES among local space actors;
    • With the support of CNES headquarters, propose, develop, coordinate and support cooperation and partnerships between space actors and contribute to the creation of new sustainable partnerships;
    • Provide a strategic, operational, technical and scientific monitoring of the American space domain;
    • Prepare collaborative space missions with the United States;
    • Support co-development and assume the role of mediator of international space activities;
    • Manage the daily affairs of the CNES office.

Useful Links and Websites

The Team

Samuel MAMOU Nicolas MAUBERT Thomas Lesage
Deputy CNES Representative Space Counselor and CNES Representative Deputy CNES Representative
+1 (202) 944-6071 +1 (202) 746-5935 +1 (202) 944-6579
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected]


Other CNES Representatives around the World

In light blue are the 51 countries which have signed one or more agreements with CNES
In dark blue are the 7 countries which have signed one or more agreements with CNES and in which CNES has assigned a permanent Representative (see table below)

# Country City Representative Phone Email
1 Germany Berlin Jean-François DUPUIS +49 30 590 03 95 05 [email protected]
2 Belgium Brussels Céline BEGON +32 2 229 82 88 [email protected]
3 China Beijing Norbert PALUCH +86 10 8531 2253 [email protected]
4 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Donato GIORGI +971 50 394 1152 [email protected]
5 India Bangalore Mathieu WEISS +91 99 00 48 02 44 [email protected]
6 Japan Tokyo Bernard LUCIANI +81 3 5798 6046 [email protected]
7 Russia Moscow Didier COLLIN +7 495 937 2494 [email protected]