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Observatories > CNES/GRGS

Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)

Entrance of CNES at Toulouse

Logos of the associated members to CNES through the GRGS


Founded in 1961, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) is the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in Europe.
Its task is to invent the space systems of the future, bring space technologies to maturity and guarantee France’s independent access to space.
CNES is a pivotal player in Europe’s space programme, and a major source of initiatives and proposals that aim to maintain France and Europe’s competitive edge.
It conceives and executes space programmes with its partners in the scientific community and industry, and is closely involved in many international cooperation programmes—the key to any far-reaching space policy. The agency’s more-than 2,400-strong workforce constitutes an exceptional pool of talent, with some 1,800 engineers and executives, 35% of whom are women.
Through its ability to innovate and its forward-looking vision, CNES is helping to foster new technologies that will benefit society as a whole, focusing on:
- access to space
- civil applications
- earth, environment and climate
- space sciences and preparing the future
- security and defence


On 1971 February 17, the GRGS (Groupe de Recherche en Géodésie Spatiale) is created by the following members:
- the Bureau des Longitudes,
- the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales,
- the Institut Géographique National,
- the Observatoire de Paris.
Since 1971, other organisms joined GRGS:
- the INSU/CNRS,
- the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA),
- the Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM),
- the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées of Paul Sabatier University (OMP),
- the "Université de la Polynésie Française" (UPF),
- the "Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers" (CNAM),
- the "Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre" (EOST) of Strasbourg University.

The topics studied at GRGS are:
- Orbital Mechanics
- Earth's Gravitational Field
- The Earth's Rotation and Reference Systems
- Geodetic Measurements
- Spatial Altimetry
- Planetary Geodesy
- Theoretical Physics