France and China are stepping up their space cooperation to include French participation in the Chang’e 6 mission to return samples from the Moon in 2023-2024.
France and China are stepping up their cooperation in the fields of planetary exploration and climate action.
On 25th March, in the presence of the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, and French President Emmanuel Macron, French space agency CNES and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) signed an agreement on future space cooperation between the two nations.
In the domain of exploration, China will fly French experiments on its Chang’e 6 mission to return samples from the Moon in 2023-2024.
With regard to climate action, the two agencies have started work on their next joint Earth-observation mission, focused on ocean salinity and soil moisture. At the same time, the two nations are pursuing the roll-out of the Space Climate Observatory (SCO) to deliver satellite data in support of tackling climate change and its impacts.
The agreement represents the next phase in space cooperation between Paris and Beijing. It follows the successful launch of the China-France Oceanography Satellite (CFOSat) by a Chinese Long March 2C launch vehicle from the Jiuquan launch base in Inner Mongolia in October 2018. CFOSat is designed to observe ocean-atmosphere exchanges, particularly between winds and waves, which play a key role in the climate system.