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N° 31–2002: ESA and CNES sign contract on CSG

2 May 2002

Today, at the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou French Guiana, Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director of Launchers, and Mr Gérard Brachet, CNES Director General, signed a contract on funding to cover the fixed costs of "CNES/CSG facilities". The total amount of these fixed costs over the five years from 2002 to 2006 is put at EUR 617.4 million.

This contract follows on from the decision on Guiana Space Centre (CSG) funding taken on 15 November last year in Edinburgh by the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level, under which the Agency will cover two-thirds of the fixed costs, EUR 411.6 m. The other third is being met by CNES out of its budget for national activities, bringing the overall French contribution to 56% of the total.

The ESA member states' decision on this collective funding effort is a mark of their solidarity with Europe's launcher sector and the importance they attach to it.

Europe's spaceport at the CSG is a key component of the sector, ensuring that Europe enjoys independent access to space and helping to optimise the Ariane system's overall competitiveness, which has been sustained by the efforts of all partners at Kourou to drive costs down while consolidating the quality of technical services.

The contract sets out the technical and financial arrangements for the use of CNES/CSG facilities as defined in the agreement between the French Government and ESA signed on Thursday 11 April in Paris.

Under the contract, the term "CNES/CSG facilities" means the CNES facilities at the CSG and those belonging to ESA made available to CNES for the purposes of carrying out the contract (the downrange stations and the payload preparation complexes operated by CNES). The contract does not however cover the Ariane launch sites in French Guiana made available by ESA to Arianespace.

It is Arianepsace that is responsible for meeting the variable costs, which depend on the number of launches carried out.

Gérard Brachet took pride in the fact that "Europe has, in the CSG, one of the best equipped and most efficient launch bases in the world. The service to users is universally recognised as outstanding. The costs of operational upkeep are well below those of the American bases funded by the Department of Defense and, with productivity gains already identified, they will be reduced by over 15% between now and 2006".

"The process of Europeanising the CSG set in train under the previous contracts is going to be continued through cooperation between the ESA and CNES teams", stated Jean-Jacques Dordain after the signing ceremony, "especially in the field of industrial policy, the target being to ensure that every ESA member state has a satisfactory industrial return by the end of the period 2002-2006".

For further information, please contact:

Franco Bonacina, ESA

Media Relations Office

Tel: +33(0)

Fax: +33(0)

Sandra Laly, CNES

Tel: +33(0)

Fax: +33(0)

For further information:

Franco Bonacina - ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33.(0)1.5369.7155
Fax: +33.(0)1.5369.7690

Sandra Laly, CNES
Tel: +33.(0)1.4476.7732
Fax: +33.(0)1.4476.7416

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