Mini-rocket at night for a sixty-something

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Every weekend, an image that made the news or caught our attention. On July 19, a mini-rocket made a night flight above the Tarbes military camp, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of C’Space, the annual gathering of French aerospace clubs.

Tarbes, eighth

From July 15 to 22, the military camp of Ger de l’Land Force and 1st Parachute Hussar Regimentlocated near Tarbes in the Hautes-Pyrénées, welcomed young members of French aerospace clubs (as well as a delegation of Peruvians), as part of the C’Space.

This was held in Tarbes for the eighth time since 2015, the 2020 edition having had to be canceled due to the health crisis.

Nearly 190 participants aged 15 to 25 were present this year.

They were able to implement their various projects, supervised by the teams of the CNES and the association Planet Science : 5 cansats (satellite concentrates in a soda can, now dropped from drones), 2 stratospheric balloons23 mini rockets and 18 experimental rockets (including two equipped with an inert second stage and two supersonic); in the space of eight editions, the launch zones specifically set up at the Tarbes camp have thus been the scene of more than 400 rocket launches and around a hundred cansat drops.

Happy birthday !

Placed under the sign of the sixtieth anniversary of the first rocket launch campaign (organized in November 1963 in Sissonne, Aisne), C’Space 2023 was an opportunity to celebrate the diamond wedding anniversary between Cnes and Planète Sciences.

From its first months of existence, the national agency had been entrusted with the mission of supervising the space activities of young people, with a view to safety (Circular n°490 of the Ministry of the Interior of August 7, 1962).

The Cnes then called on the ANCS (National Association of Scientific Clubs, created in April 1962 and became Planète Sciences after several name changes) to coordinate the clubs of young people wishing to build rockets, and support them in the development of their projects, by promoting teamwork and experimental practice.

To (re) see: the film devoted to the first 50 years of C’Space, produced in 2013 and available on

To discover: the historical exhibition of the 60th anniversary of C’Space, concocted by Marion Picquartvolunteer of the Planète Sciences association.

Distinguished guests

For once, two personalities have been asked to be the godmothers of this anniversary edition: Ursula Aniakoudeputy deputy director of the Future Innovation Launch Systems department at Cnes, and Lucia Chickenresearcher in bioastronautics and life support process at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, in Auvergne.

Both – like anyone new to C’Space – were struck by the enthusiasm and involvement of the young people, their work, the quality of their projects and their perseverance.

Other “VIP” guests included Arnaud Prosttest engineer and pilot of theair force and spaceReserve AstronautEuropean Space Agency (recruited November 23, 2022), and former paratrooper of the 1st RHP.

The 30-year-old has just been assigned to a radar plane Awacs at theEDCA (Airborne Detection and Control Squadron), and therefore joined Air Base 702 in Avord (Centre), the second largest air base in France after BA 125 Istres-Le Tubé (Bouches-du-Rhône).

Arnaud Prost was also newly promoted to Commander and Principal Engineer.

For two days on the C’Space, he showed tremendous availability to young people, their supervisors and guests, enthusiastically answering the many questions and accepting almost systematic selfies without hesitation.

Was also present Roxana Perrierprofessor of space and physical sciences at Ipsa Toulouse (Polytechnic Institute of Advanced Sciences), school of air, space and sustainable mobility engineers.

Space and environment

On July 20, the VIP day ended with an exciting round table moderated by Hugo and Maxime Lisoirproducers of videos devoted to space news on YouTube.

They were able to discuss with a nice panel of specialists on the challenges of manned flight in Europe, the environmental footprint of space activities, and the prospects for distant travel: Ursula Aniakou, Faustine Cantalloube (CNRS researcher in astrophysics, specialized in the detection of exoplanets by imaging, based at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille), Bruno Millet (deputy director of the sustainable development department at Cnes), Lucie Poulet and Arnaud Prost.

The recording of the exchanges will soon be online on the YouTube channel of Planète Sciences.


C’Space 2023 also marked the departure of two people who are as emblematic as they are essential: Sophie Guiraudondirector of the Planète Sciences association since 2013 (year of the 50th anniversary of C’Space), and chief warrant officer Christian Loustaufigure of the 1st RHP and C’Space since its installation in Tarbes.

The first will continue its journey in the service of the cultural project of the territory of the agglomeration community Greater Paris South.

The second, whom his comrades affectionately refer to as “the camp sheriff”, leaves his post after 33 years of service in the Army (and no less than 600 parachute jumps), but will join the reserve.

Good luck to you both!

night flight

For the second consecutive year, two project implementation operations took place after dark on July 19: an experimental balloon release and a mini-rocket launch.

It is the flight of the latter, built by volunteers from Planète Sciences and equipped with LEDs that change color according to the measured speed, which gives rise to our Space image of the week.

The photograph was taken at 10:55 p.m.

It perfectly illustrates the speed modulations of the rocket along its trajectory, but also the different phases of the flight: takeoff, propelled phase, engine shutdown, ballistic phase, parachute opening and descent under parachute.

It was made by the excellent freelance photographer Frederic Lancelotusing a Nikon Z9 camera fitted with a 24-70mm lens open to F/7.1.

The long pause, manually controlled, lasted 38 seconds.

A nominal flight and shooting, just like a memorable campaign!

John Walker Avatar