During a meeting with Yvan Ylieff, the Belgian government representative in charge of space matters, France’s research minister Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg signed two amendments to cooperation agreements between France and Belgium in the field of Earth observation.

These agreements concern the SPOT 5 satellite programme, in particular Belgium’s
contribution to the VEGETATION 2 instrument to be flown on the new satellite, which the
French space agency CNES plans to launch at the start of 2002.

VEGETATION 2 is a wide-field, multispectral Earth observation instrument dedicated to
monitoring crops and forests worldwide. Belgium has been one of the two partners
alongside Sweden since the SPOT programme got underway in the 1980s.

Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg spoke of the “excellent cooperation in space over many
years between France and Belgium”. The minister also indicated that “talks are being
actively pursued to bring Belgium into the Pleaides programme to develop a
new-generation high-resolution optical Earth observation satellite,” on which France is
already cooperating with Italy.