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Space Chair: a new chapter dedicated to space exploration and research opens for ENS

On February 1, the ENS’ historic Salle de la Bibliothèque des Lettres was the setting for the launch of the Space Chair, in the presence of its patrons and Stéphanie Ruphy, scientific director of this new chair. We witnessed the fruit of collaboration between key French players in the space sector and the ENS Foundation.

The evening began with an introduction by Frédéric Worms, Director of ENS-PSL, Stéphane Israël, President of the ENS Foundation and Executive Chairman of Arianespace, and Hervé Derrey, President of the GIFAS Space Commission and Chairman and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. The session provided an opportunity to present the Space Chair and its ambitious objectives.

Stéphanie Ruphy, Scientific Director of the Chair, then took the floor, followed by three presentations of research work.

  • Athéna Coustenis (Paris Observatory): “Exploring habitable worlds in the solar system”.
  • Guillaume Schlumberger (French Ministry of the Armed Forces): “Space, a strategic competition issue”.
  • Lise Dubois, doctoral student at the Institut d’études de stratégie et de défense (IESD): “German space policy : 1982 to the present day”.
  • Laurent Bopp (Director of the Geosciences Department at ENS): “What contribution can space make to our understanding of climate and the oceans?”

Finally, the event concluded with a round table featuring Philippe Baptiste, Chairman and CEO of CNES, Frédéric Parisot, Managing Director of GIFAS, and Jean-Hubert Lenotte, Director of Strategy and Resources, Eutelsat Group.

Find out more on the dedicated website:

Watch the launch of the Space Chair on Savoirs ENS

Research areas of the Space Chair

The Space Chair at ENS is committed to three key areas of research, reflecting the diversity of issues associated with space exploration:

  • Uses and representations of space through the ages: connectivity, constellations, exploration, manned flight, environmental protection, etc.
  • How can we reconcile space as a “common good” and space as an issue of sovereignty?
  • Focus on the “Space for Climate” challenge: what contribution can space make to preserving the planet? What are the sustainable uses of space?

By approaching space through the prism of the human and social sciences, the Space Chair is fully in line with the ENS’s transdisciplinary and innovative approach to research. It aims to open up unexplored fields of knowledge, exploring perspectives in law, philosophy, history and strategic studies. Stéphanie Ruphy, whose academic and intellectual career, emblematic of the ENS, fuses astrophysics and the philosophy of science, embodies the transdisciplinarity that will be at the heart of the Space Chair’s research, which will radiate across a very broad field of disciplines.

This Chair is made possible by generous sponsors: GIFAS (Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales), Airbus, Air Liquide, ArianeGroup, CNES, Eutelsat Group, Safran, Sodern and Thales Alenia Space.

For further information, please contact