US vows closer cooperation with French space agency

Washington (AFP) –


The United States on Wednesday pledged closer cooperation with France's space agency, saying the two were advancing the commercial development of space.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of France's space agency, CNES, signed a declaration of intent, announcing expanded collaboration on space traffic management and space situational awareness, among other matters.

The two met on the margins of an international astronautical conference in the US capital.

"As we quickly race towards a billion-dollar space economy, our relationship with CNES and other like-minded institutions around the globe will become even more crucial," Ross said in a statement.

While the declaration called for collaboration and the exchange of research and information, it also said both sides agreed that "at this time, international regulation of space is neither desirable nor necessary."

Since taking office in 2017, Ross has shown notable enthusiasm for the emerging industries outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Last month, he signed an agreement with Australia's space agency he said would facilitate "industry-to-industry" collaboration and advance American plans to return to the Moon by 2024 and advance exploration of Mars.