The Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) is the French national space agency. It was first established in 1961. Initial rocket launches were from Hammaguir in Algeria, but in 1969 a new launch facility in French Guiana was completed. It does not appear that any CNES owned aircraft were used to support launch operations. CNES was originally responsible for training French astronauts, and in 1986 formed a subsidiary company called Novespace to provide zero-g experience by means of parabolic flights in an aircraft. The first aircraft, a Caravelle, was ready to use for this purpose in 1988. This aircraft was later replaced by an A300 and more recently by an A310. Since 2009 CNES has been developing an airborne satellite launch vehicle called EOLE. The first flight of a sub-scale UAV demonstrator took place in October 2013.
|19 December 1961||CNES first established.|
|1969||French Guiana Space Centre completed.|
|1988||First aircraft obtained.|
|2014||New zero-g training aircraft delivered.|
The CNES aircraft are used for Zero-g training and space science research.
No plan known.
The Caravelle operated in a simple white and bare metal colour scheme with DGA CNES and ZERO-G titles. A parabolic flight logo appeated on the fin. The two Airbus aircraft operate in an overall white colour scheme with a two-tone blue logo on the fin of a person floating person space. The titles ZERO-G appear on the fuselage sides.
Aircraft Serial Numbers
CNES aircraft carry French civil registrations, e.g. A310 F-WNOV.
Coding system not used
None – Manufacturers designations used
Current Aircraft Inventory
|Aircraft Type||Total Del’d||Total Now||Role||Origin|
|Airbus A310-300||1||1||Zero-g Training||German AF|
|Dassault Falcon 20||1||1||Research||ex-civil|
All-Time Aircraft Used List
|Aircraft Type||Quantity||Service Entry||Out of Service||Origin|
|Airbus A310-300||1||2014||current||German AF|
|Dassault Falcon 20||1||?||current||ex-civil|
|Sud Aviation Caravelle||1||1988||1995||ex-civil|
Aircraft NOT Used
No false reports known.
Centre national d’études spatiales, 2 place Maurice Quentin, 75 039 PARIS CEDEX 01, FRANCE.
The zero-g aircraft are operated by a CNES subsidiary called Novespace.
Current Unit Assignments
Historical Unit Assignments
All-Time Flying Units List
Current Air Bases
The zero-g Caravelle operated from Bretigny Flight Test Centre, but the with the arrival of the Airbus A300 the operation moved to Bordeaux-Merignac.
All-Time Air Bases Used List
French Aviation Bibliography – to be added
No feature articles known.