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New unit, broader mandate

On the basis of the audit recommendations, UAP activities resumed with a new CNES unit called Geipan, set up in 2005. This unit reports to senior management at the Toulouse Space Centre and is overseen by an independent external steering committee, which guides and monitors its work.

Geipan’s missions are to:

  • Collect eyewitness accounts of UAPs observed from the ground and aircraft, preferably reports made to the authorities (gendarmerie, police, civil aviation authority, air force, etc.)
  • Analyse accounts and investigate at the scene if necessary to attempt to provide scientific explanations of reported observations
  • Archive accounts collected on French territory
  • Inform the public about methods and findings

This recently added fourth mission forms an important part of CNES’s UAP activity. Information is made available to the public through a dedicated website : With huge volumes of archive documents scanned, the site will post all available information, as authorized under current legislation.

fact file
An independent steering committee
GEIPAN is overseen by a steering committee called COPEIPAN*, which submits recommendations to CNES about GEIPAN’s objectives and operations. Chaired by former CNES Director General Yves Sillard, it has 15 members representing:
  • French civil and military authorities (gendarmerie, police, civil protection agency, civil aviation authority, air force)
  • The research community (CNRS national science research centre, Météo-France weather service, CNES)
* Comité de Pilotage des Etudes et de l’Information sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non identifiés

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