Welcome to the SGAC France page! France has been a major player in institutional and industrial space activities at the international level since November 26th, 1965, date of the launch of Astérix, which is the country’s first artificial satellite.
The launch of Astérix made France the third autonomous space power and the fourth State to put a satellite in orbit. Thanks to its South American territory, French Guyana, where the Guyana Space Center is located, France is now the top commercial launch provider of satellites. Its contribution to the European Space Agency, in terms of funding and infrastructure, makes it one of the key players for the future of European space activities. Notwithstanding its highly competitive space industry, France has also developed a large education system in fields related to space activities. Examples include both the fundamental sciences and engineering as well as space law and politics. Students and young professionals all over the country are getting more and more involved in the country’s space activities through their studies, conferences and workshops. This allows them to bring a new vision for the future of global space activities and participate in the great journey of exploring our universe that has been taking place for more than 50 years.
Take a part in this journey through SGAC France!
Young Space Activities in France
France is full of space-related resources! First, many education programmes have been put into place since the beginning of the French space age. Education-wise, many different courses exist. Covering all aspects of space, the International Space University (ISU), located in Strasbourg, France, provides graduate-level training to the future leaders of the emerging global space community in its two-month Space Studies Program and one-year masters program. The masters degree in Space and Telecommunications Law at University Paris-Sud XI near Paris directed by Pr. Philippe Achilleas is an excellent example of France taking the lead in the space sector as the programme is one of the few courses in Europe addressing space law. Similarly, the Institute of Space and Telecommunications Law (IDEST) is an association, as much as a working group of professionals which aims at promoting space law. There also exists a masters degree in International Law of Spaces, in the University of Western Brittany.
Are you looking for engineering programmes? The prestigious Sup'Aéro Campus welcomes student engineers in the aerospace sector, in the town of Toulouse. Moreover, in order to get a good idea of what real working life means, students can get the chance to participate in the Student Aerospace Challenge, organised and promoted by several major industry players members of the GIFAS (Group of French Aerospace Industry Companies) such as Thales Alenia and Safran. Students get together and work on a project on a specific theme, such as risk management, and are coached by previous challengers.
Because France is a member of the European Space Agency, French students can also be part of a major event of the ECSL (European Centre for Space Law) by participating to the Summer Course on Space Law in September each year. Taking place in one of the universities of a member country, the summer course reunites students from all over Europe and beyond and is a great opportunity to have lectures from many renowned professionals and professors. At the end of the course, in order to implement all that was taught, the students present as teams a project, either a moot court, or a call for tenders on a predefined theme.
France is historically a nest of industrial space and defense players. Naturally, another illustration of how France fosters employment and studies in the space sector is through the GIFAS, which is the aerospace industry group whose mission is to represent the sector to national and international institutions. It also promotes space-releated professions and coordinates the industrial and commercial policies. GIFAS is a great help for students wanting to work in the industry. Finally, GIFAS is a member of the ASD, Aerospace and Defense industries associations for Europe.
Last but not least, many specialised events are organised in which young space professionals can participate, and you may find some in our list below. The famous Salon International de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace at Paris-Le Bourget for example, takes place every two years (the next being in June 2011, so get ready and don't miss it!) and reunites all aerospace actors, including national, but also international industry and institutional players. Paris also welcomes another event, Eurosatory, which is specialised in defence issues and is also every two years.
If you are interested in all these programmes, hurry to the link section below!
Country-Specific Events in 2013
- Space Perspectives 2013 (Perspectives Spatiales 2013), Pavillon Dauphine, Paris (15 January)
- ECSL Practitioners' Forum 2013, "The Registration of Satellites – Legal Aspects and Practice", Room A, ESA HQ, Paris (15 March)
- 17th ISU Annual International Symposium, "Space technology and tele-reach: benefiting humanity on Earth and beyond", ISU Central Campus, Strasbourg (5-7 March)
- Explore Mars ("Explorez Mars"), Cité de l'espace, 1 Avenue Jean Gonord, Toulouse, France (until 1 September)
- Futurapolis, the meeting of technological and scientific innovation, Centre de congrès Pierre Baudis, Toulouse, (11-13 April
- International Space Apps Challenge: Meet the 50 technological challenges of NASA, La Cantine, Paris and Toulouse, (20-21 April
- Conferences, Symposia and Workshops organized by ESA in France in 2013:
- SMOS & Aquarius Science Workshop, Ifremer, Brest (15-17 April)
- IVEC 2013 - Fourteenth International Vacuum Electronics Conference, UIC-P Espaces Congrès, Paris, (21-23 May)
- 50th Paris Le Bourget International Aerospace Show, Paris Le Bourget, (17-23 June)
- Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week, The Westin, Paris, (9-13 September)
Interesting Web Links for the Young Generation in France
Groups, People, Institutions
Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France
Centre Nationale d’Etudes Spatiales
Groupe Parlementaire sur l’Espace
Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales
Institut du Droit de l’Espace et des Télécommunications
Institut Français d’Histoire de l’Espace
International Space University
Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales
Student Aerospace Challenge
Aero Emploi Formation
Ecole de l’Air et de l’Espace
Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile
Ecole Supérieur des Technologies Aérospatiales
EUROSAE (Advanced Training)
Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace
University Paris-Sud 11 (Masters Degree in Space and Telecommunication Law)
University of Western Brittany (Masters Degree in International Law of Spaces)