France urges cooperation in space to face US competition | india | Hindustan Times
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France urges cooperation in space to face US competition

French Prez Jacques Chirac has urged greater European cooperation in space, even for military purposes, in the face of US dominance of the strategic sector.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 17:56 IST
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President Jacques Chirac has urged greater European cooperation in space, even for military purposes, in the face of US dominance of the strategic sector.

"Mastering space is a political and strategic issue," Chirac said, at a factory in Cannes that makes satellites for the French-Italian group AlcatelAlenia Space.

"We must speed up the pace," he said, adding, "The United States invests six times more public funds in this sphere than Europe."

The European Union should "adopt a shared and ambitious vision of space," he said, in the face of aggressive space development in the United States, Russia, Japan, and increasingly in China and India.

Chirac also encouraged European cooperation on the military level, except for certain "sensitive" areas. He did not elaborate.

The French President praised the team building the Ariane-5 rocket, which is expected to make its first flight from French Guyana on Thursday, two weeks after the initial launch was delayed twice because of technical glitches.

Chirac also ordered the French government to come up with a law about space exploration to streamline the country's space activities.