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  • Official UFO Investigations in France: the GEPAN/SEPRA Project

    Appendix 1: Official UFO Investigations in France: the GEPAN/SEPRA Project


    For more than 20 years, the French space agency has conducted a non-military but official investigation into UFO reports. In its first phase, the project was named GEPAN and its focus was primarily on UFO reports. Subsequently, the project was renamed SEPRA and was assigned a more general responsibility for studying all atmospheric reentry phenomena. In the body of the report, we have for convenience referred to the project as "GEPAN/SEPRA." This appendix gives a brief summary of the history, mission, operations and achievements of this project.

    The French space agency is known as CNES (Centre National d'Études Spatiales). It was founded in 1962 to conduct French space activities on a national basis and also in the context of the European Space Agency (ESA) or of other international collaborations. CNES currently has 2,500 employees. The CNES headquarters are in Paris but its technical center is in Toulouse.

    GEPAN (Groupe d'Études des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés - Study Group for Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena) was established as a department of CNES in Toulouse in 1977. At that time, its head was Dr. Claude Poher, who had already performed statistical analyses of files containing several thousand observations worldwide (Poher, 1973). CNES set up a scientific advisory board comprising astronomers, physicists, legal experts and other eminent citizens to monitor and guide GEPAN's activities.

    The first tasks undertaken by GEPAN were: To establish data collection procedures in conjunction with the Air Force, civil aviation authorities, the Gendarmerie (French internal police), meteorological offices, the national police, etc.


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