France hails NATO’s choice of Toulouse to host space centre
Defence – Establishment of the NATO space centre of excellence in Toulouse – Communiqué issued by the Ministry for the Armed Forces
Paris, 5 February 2021
On 28 January 2021, NATO selected the French proposal to host in Toulouse a new centre of excellence dedicated solely to space.
Florence Parly welcomes this decision, which demonstrates recognition of French expertise on space and confirms Toulouse’s natural role in the space field. It also fleshes out NATO’s ambition in this sphere.
Situated in Toulouse, open to our allies and partners, the centre will be at the heart of Europe’s largest space ecosystem, surrounded by the Space Command and Space Academy, the Space Lab, leading international space industries, stakeholders in Newspace, innovative laboratories, universities and research centres. It will benefit from unique expertise, private and public, military and civilian, industrial and academic. The centre of excellence will carry out doctrinal work, training, excercises, analyses and forward planning, autonomously or together with the Space Command, since they will be in the same location.
In 2019, the allies adopted a NATO space policy and recognized space as a theatre of operations, in the same way as the air, land, sea and cyber theatres. The aim of this policy is to structure NATO’s approach to space and, as far as possible, support the Alliance’s operations and missions in spheres such as communications, navigation and intelligence. Thanks to satellites, the allies and NATO can respond to crises with greater speed, effectiveness and precision.
The Space Command is continuing work with NATO to host the space centre of excellence from the summer of 2021 onwards, in parallel with its own scaling-up on the site. The centre will ultimately accommodate 42 people, including 17 foreign nationals.
As a pioneer in Europe, France adopted a space defence strategy in July 2019, to take into account the realities of the space environment and the growing threats facing space assets, which are now vital both for their civilian and their military applications. Through the space centre of excellence in Toulouse, France commits itself to strengthening space expertise in Europe./.