Bretagne (or Brittany) is a French Region situated in the peninsula of Northwestern France, between the English Channel and the Atlantic ocean. The Region has more than 3,2 million inhabitants. The main cities are Rennes (capital city) and Brest. Bretagne is characterized by:
- a dynamic research and innovation ecosystem with important innovation capacity driven by regional clusters
- massive investment in research with nearly 10 000 researchers
- an excellent education system close to the needs of businesses, with over 110 000 students.
Regional strategy to support space sector
Bretagne has several important activities, initiatives, and facilities that allow the region to position itself as one of the most innovative regions for the use of space technologies, including:
- research teams working on remote detection ;
- companies working on space applications ;
- CLIMSAT, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative based in Bretagne, working on global satellite observation anticipating the effects of global warming;
- VIGISAT, a research space remote tool which provides instruments for land and maritime observation.
Built on its existing strengths, the Region actively supports the development of space applications sector within its territory in order to:
- support research and innovation
- develop education and professional training
- stimulate the industrial innovation by providing privileged access to Sentinel-1 and in the future to sentinel 2 products
As a Managing authority of European structural Funds, the Regional Council of Brittany has included space observation and application as component of its Regional Strategy for Smart Specialisation (S3) for the period 2014-2020 within the priority called “observation, energy and environmental engineering”.
The development of space application is therefore also part of the regional strategy towards an energetic and ecological transition of the regional economy.
VIGISAT, the first civilian radar satellite station in France
As part of its strategy to support space applications sector, Brittany initiated in 2009 a major support to VIGISAT, the main French station for the direct reception and analysis of high resolution satellite radar images.
Based in Brest and operated by CLS, VIGISAT is a reference for maritime surveillance and provides satellite services in near real-time: monitoring of pollutions and identification of polluters, detection of illegal fishing, knowledge of the maritime situation, detection of icebergs, environmental monitoring, support in offshore oil & gas industry, radar surveillance and maritime security.
VIGISAT is the first worldwide collaborative station of the SENTINEL-1 satellite. The CLS radar division is also certified as “Sentinel-1 Mission performance Centre” (MPC-S1) ensuring sensor performance monitoring.
Key regional actors
As part of its regional strategy to develop space applications, Bretagne Region supports two key entities working in this field:
- The Scientific Interest Group Bretagne Télédétection – GIS BreTel (Brittany Remote Sensing) – created in 2009 together with the VIGISAT station. GIs Bretel aggregates 11 academic/research labs around developments in Remote Sensing areas. It aims to promote research, education (academic programs) and innovation linked to the exploitation of satellite data for maritime, costal and continental areas.
- The sea innovation cluster Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique (PMBA). Created in 2005, this cluster is dedicated to maritime activities related to amongst earth observation, energy and environmental issues. PMBA gathers hundreds of key players from different communities i.e. academics, industrial or professional/institutional bodies.
Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique is the coordinator of the Brittany Copernicus Regional Contact Office (RCO) with the support of GIS BreTel. This RCO aims at promoting the maritime services derived from satellite and other remote sensing technologies for purpose of global monitoring for environment and security.
Moreover, Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique recently became founding members of the Copernicus Academy Network and the Gis BreTel member of the Copernicus Relay Network.