GEIPAN (sept. 2005-), formerly known as GEPAN (1977-1988) and SEPRA (1988-2004), is a unit of the French Space Agency CNES whose brief is to investigate unidentified aerospace phenomena (UAP) and make its findings available to the public.
The French Gendarmerie was instructed to channel data from reports of UFO sightings to SEPRA, which therefore was in a position to draw on a large database of such events. In cases where physical traces appeared to be present, SEPRA could call on the technical resources of CNES to perform a thorough scientific investigation. A famous example of such an investigation was in the Trans-en-Provence Case.
In March 2007, GEIPAN started to make its archives available online to everyone.
- GEIPAN stands for Groupe d'Études et d'Informations sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés (unidentified aerospace phenomenon research and information group)
- GEPAN stands for Groupe d'Étude des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés (unidentified aerospace phenomenon research group)
- SEPRA formerly stood for Service d'Expertise des Phénomènes de Rentrée Atmosphérique (atmospheric re-entry phenomena expertise department) and, since 2000, stands for Service d'Expertise des Phénomènes Rares Aérospatiaux (rare aerospace phenomena expertise department)
- GEIPAN is clearly focused on UFO study, but UAP (PAN in french) is meant to cover a much broader area than UFO (OVNI in french) as UFO may imply the presence of a physical object despite any actual evidence of it.
- Rossoni, D., Maillot, E., & Déguillaume, E. (2007). Les ovnis du CNES – 30 ans d’études officielles. www.book-e-book.com. (extracts from the book in French). Critical skeptical investigations of GEPAN's work.
- (French) GEIPAN official site
- Goals and history of GEIPAN on the CNES website.
- From GEPAN to SEPRA: Official UFO studies in France (International UFO Review, winter 2000-2001), the earlier years of GEIPAN related by Gildas Bourdais.