CISSM hosts European Space Agency director

December 17, 2018

CISSM hosted a delegation from the European Space Agency (ESA), including Johann-Dietrich “Jan” Wörner, the Director General of ESA, for a discussion about international cooperation on a range of space issues, including exploration, data collection and analysis, and debris mitigation on December 7, 2018.

Wörner kicked off the meeting by emphasizing how ESA sees international cooperation as the key enabler for new activities in space, even though competition has driven these changes. This is particularly relevant in the current “Space 4.0” environment, where shifts in the variety of different actors operating in space has helped spur new uses of space.

Wörner noted the importance of data collection and analysis to track climate change from space, emphasizing the advantages of using data from multiple satellites for more accurate information. He also discussed ESA’s space exploration objectives to reach beyond Mars, as well as the idea of a “multi-partner, open concept” Moon Village. 

Researchers affiliated with CISSM and the UMD’s Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research (CODER) talked about ongoing related research in College Park. Christine Hartzell spoke about her work to develop a new method to track small orbital debris by looking for its plasma signal. This led to a discussion about the public’s need for quality space situational awareness services available for free, like ESA’s Copernicus program. CISSM Director Nancy Gallagher and Senior Research Associate Charles Harry also spoke about CISSM’s cybersecurity initiatives and their relevance to ESA’s activities.