Nasa and the French Space Agency (CNES) have signed four agreements to foster civil space cooperation.

Through the agreements, Nasa and CNES will collaborate on four Nasa science missions.

CNES will provide the solar wind electron analyser sensor for a Nasa-led Mars atmosphere and volatile evolution mission scheduled to launch in 2013.

The French Space Agency will also provide portions of the instrument suite for another Nasa, four-spacecraft project – the magnetospheric multiscale mission scheduled for launch in 2014.

US scientists will work on a CNES-led project on convection rotation and planetary transits mission and in turn CNES will get Nasa time for follow-up ground observations by the Keck telescope in Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Nasa and CNES will also collaborate on a surface water and ocean topography mission for the study and definition of potential cooperation on this earth science decadal survey mission.

CNES, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, is the French government agency responsible for shaping and implementing the country’s space policy in Europe.

The CNES mission is to invent future space systems, bring space technologies to maturity and guarantee France’s independent access to space.