Surveying Earth from its 400-kilometre vantage point in orbit, the International Space Station (ISS) is poised for two key events at the end of the year on which France will be casting a close eye. The first will see three new astronauts arriving, among them Frenchman Thomas Pesquet, who will be conducting the Proxima mission designed and planned by CNES and the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations (see p. 8). And in December, a more strategic event will be taking place in Lucerne, Switzerland, where the ESA council meeting at ministerial level is set to decide on its future contributions to the ISS after 2020.
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