Nicolas Sarkozy visits Safran plant in Vernon
This is the plant that builds the liquid rocket engines for Europe's Ariane 5 launcher. Safran CEO Jean-Paul Herteman showed Mr. Sarkozy the new generation rocket engines being assembled, as well as the different steps in machining some of their parts.
Nicolas Sarkozy also participated in a round table discussion in the neighboring community of Saint-Marcel, on the future of the space industry and France's industrial policy. He emphasized that space remains an "absolute strategic priority" in France, and confirmed the allocation of a budget of 250 million euros for a future investment program to study a new launcher. The round table ended with an initial payment of 82.5 million euros, intended to finance preliminary studies for a successor to Ariane 5.