After meeting with Emmanuel Macron, the French President, on November 10th, US Vice President Kamala Harris declared that the two countries had agreed to strengthen their collaboration on space and cybersecurity concerns.
According to a White House press statement, the US and France would participate in a “full debate on space.” Representatives from the US civil as well as national security space organizations would create “frequent bilateral dialogue to guarantee a whole-of-government strategy to space cooperation” with their French counterparts. According to the White House, space cooperation would focus on several issues that both countries are concerned about:
- Dealing with the climate problem
- Pushing the boundaries of space
- Improving the STEM’s (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) quality education and increasing access to it
- Consultation on space activity sustainability and security norms, principles, guidelines, and rules
- Enabling a long-term space economy
The United States and France have agreed to increase the interchange of the Earth observation satellite data as well as perform cooperative analyses of climate change risks to aid in the fight against climate change. Harris, who leads the National Space Council of the United States, also stated that the US is dedicated to joining Space Climate Observatory (SCO) as well as that it “looks forward to working with France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) to finish the SCO Charter.”
Macron formally created the SCO in 2019 as a consortium with the goal of funding projects that make data from the space more available to businesses, allowing them to make better decisions and respond to the climate issue. The partnership now includes 33 space agencies as well as international organizations.
After the United States and Russia, France has the 3rd oldest and largest national space programs in the world. France published its first-ever French Space Defense Strategy in 2019 July, elevating the importance of French military space projects.
Following the discussion with Macron, Harris declared that the United States will endorse the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, which is a voluntary commitment to engage with the global community to promote cybersecurity and maintain an open, reliable and interoperable internet. Harris came to France at Macron’s request. Relations between France and the United States deteriorated in September after it was reported that the United States and the United Kingdom had agreed to deliver nuclear submarines to Australia, derailing a prior contract Australia had signed with France to buy diesel submarines.
Harris “welcomes President Macron’s announcement of France’s determination to enter the Artemis Accords, which is a coalition of like-minded governments committed to making sure that space exploration is undertaken safely and sustainably,” the White House. The Artemis Accords, which went into effect in October 2020, are a set of voluntary, non-binding principles aimed at promoting cooperative, peaceful civil space exploration.