On February 20, the ambassador of the French Republic in Argentina, Jean Michel Casa, visited the headquarters of INVAP (Applied Research Company) in San Carlos de Bariloche.
He was accompanied by the main Heads of Services of the Embassy, the Chief of the Regional Economic Service, the Regional Nuclear Counselor, the Cooperation and Cultural Action Counselor, a Science Attaché as well as the French Honorary Consul in San Carlos de Bariloche, Mr. Philippe Cheminade. The delegation was welcomed by the President of the Board of Directors of INVAP, Mr. Horacio Osuna, by the Assistant Manager of the Aerospace and Government Technical Affairs Area, Engineer Marcelo Basigalup, and by the head of the department of the Institutional and Commercial Relations, Engineer Eduardo Rodríguez Lubary.
The visit of the officials to INVAP’s facilities took place in the context of the mutual cooperation agreement between France and Argentina as regards science and technology. They were able to assess the great progress Argentina has made in its space programs —such as the Earth observation program headed by the Argentine National Space Activities Commission (CONAE, in Spanish) and the satellite communication program managed by ARSAT (Argentine Company for Satellite Solutions), both implemented by the National Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services (MINPLAN, in Spanish).
The ambassador had the chance to see the ARSAT-1, the first Argentine telecommunication satellite completely designed, built and tested in the country, in collaboration with the French group Thalès. It will be launched by the French launcher Ariane in August 2014, from Kourou’s spaceport, in French Guiana.
INVAP is the main contractor of ARSAT, dependent on the MINPLAN, to build the ARSAT 1, 2, and 3 satellites. The contract covers the provision of all the engineering services including those of the designing, building, testing and launching stages as well as the satellites quality assurance and proper functioning during their first orbital flights.