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Public institution of industrial and commercial nature (acronym 'EPIC', in French), the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) is responsible for proposing and implementing French space policy within Europe on behalf of the French Government.


In this role, it 'invents' future space systems, masters all the space technologies, and guarantees France an autonomous access to space.
As a major player in the European space industry, CNES develops proposals aimed at keeping France and Europe in their positions as world leaders. France's involvement in the European Space Agency (ESA) is also handled through CNES.
CNES surrounds itself with scientific and industrial partners that develop the space programmes it designs. It is also involved in numerous international space co-operations, which are an integral part of any large-scale space policy.
CNES in numbers:
- 1961: Foundation of CNES
- 1740 million Euros: Total annual budget, including France's contribution to ESA of
685 million Euros
- 4 centres: Head office (Paris), Toulouse space centre, Rocket division (Evry), French Guyana Space Centre (Kourou)
Staff. Paris: 202 - Evry: 238 - Kourou: 268 - Toulouse: 1695
- 5 major areas of applications: access to space, sustainable development, general public applications, security and defence, research and innovation.

CNES involvement with Ocean Colour

CNES conducts studies to define future space-borne ocean colour observation systems, and finances research projects promoting the use of data from space sensors dedicated to ocean colour, creating new scientific algorithms, and developing new applications.
These projects are financed through its general R&T (Research and Technology) budget, the specific TOSCA (Terre, Océan, Surfaces Continentales, Atmosphère - Land, Ocean, Continental Areas, Atmosphere) budget, and also by financing Ph. D. theses and post doctoral work and via a scientific support budget for laboratories.
The official CNES website:
The site presenting CNES scientific missions:

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