The UK Space Agency is teaming up with Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), France’s own national space agency, in a partnership that will see the two organisations collaborate on the use of satellite technologies to measure sources of carbon in the atmosphere and detect carbon sinks on Earth.
Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, CNES President, signed the MicroCarb cooperation agreement at the French Ambassador’s Residence in London, witnessed by Jo Johnson, the UK’s Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, and France’s Ambassador to the UK, Sylvie Bermann.
The MicroCarb satellite project is the first European mission specifically designed to study and analyse greenhouse gas fluxes on the Earth’s surface and gauge how much carbon is being absorbed by oceans and forests, the main carbon sinks on our planet.
The MicroCarb mission is due to launch in 2020 and will contribute to other international efforts to measure how much carbon gas is being emitted by natural processes and human activities.
The UK is committing an initial sum of £10 million to the MicroCarb mission, which will be used to provide key components and services for the MicroCarb satellite.
The UK’s Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said: “UK collaboration with France on MicroCarb provides an excellent platform to demonstrate cutting-edge British science, our commitment to climate policy, and a productive relationship with a key European partner.
“The UK space sector is alive with talent and opportunity and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are ensuring the UK remains a vital contributor to international space research.”
CNES President, Jean-Yves Le Gall, added: “CNES is working with the UK Space Agency to curb climate change, and MicroCarb is a fine example of spacefaring Europe’s commitment to this global effort and a further illustration of our ability to ‘invent the future of space’.”