Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews welcomed the agreement signed by the head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC, and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) president, Dr Jean-Yves Le Gall.
The agreement will help both countries join forces to develop their space capabilities, particularly in the areas of space operations, space science, Earth observation, positioning system and communications.
"This strategic association between the Australian and French governments’ space agencies will help our nations’ universities, research institutions, businesses and communities work together across a range of fields," Minister Andrews said.
The first steps are already underway, with CNES partnering with UNSW Canberra Space for the development of the Australian National Concurrent Design Facility (ANCDF) for the development of world-class space missions, and for studies towards the development of satellite technologies with advanced sensors and onboard processing and intelligence.
This facility will fast track Australia’s ability to deliver world-class space technology, provide a boost to economic growth and jobs in Australia, and support future joint missions.
Dr Clark said the signing of the agreement represented the start of the Australian Space Agency’s journey with fellow spacefaring nations.
"Civil space engagement initiatives like this with the French Space Agency will explore advanced space technology and applications used in Earth observation and remote sensing with high-altitude balloons and satellites, space operations and joint missions," she said.
Dr Le Gall also welcomed the agreement: "Today, CNES proudly becomes the Australian Space Agency’s very first international partner. Australia’s amazing ramp-up shows the now crucial importance of space for our economies. The joint projects coming out of today’s agreement will ultimately bring growth and jobs both in Australia and in France."