France and India have signed agreements to work together on technology for future launchers and on India’s upcoming lunar rover mission.
On the occasion of a visit to Bangalore by French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on 9th January, Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of French space agency CNES, and AS Kiran Kumar, president of ISRO, signed an agreement to create a joint working group on future launcher technology. ISRO engineers will be trained at CNES and a working group will subsequently evaluate synergies on current developments and will look at projects for future concepts, particularly in relation to reusable launchers. Cooperation between the two countries in the space sector dates back to the 1960s.
France and India will also work together on an entrepreneurial space project. Jean-Yves Le Gall and Rahul Narayan, CEO of Axial Research Labs, signed an agreement covering CNES participation in the privately funded TeamIndus mission planned for January 2018. CNES will provide two latest-generation micro-cameras developed in cooperation with a French firm, 3DPlus. It will be the first time that French technology has been used on a Moon mission.
TeamIndus is the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is a global competition to encourage engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon that explores at least 500m and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth.