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Science & Exploration

N° 9–2013: Call for Media: Conference on space debris risks and mitigation

11 April 2013

The 6th European Conference on Space Debris, to be held 22-25 April at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, will provide a forum for leading scientists, engineers, managers, space operators, industry, academia and policy makers from all major spacefaring nations.  Media are kindly invited to attend the event.

The objective is to discuss the latest findings, policy approaches and technical options to cope with the increasing risks of space debris. Special sessions will be devoted to active debris removal.

Human-made space objects result from about 4900 launches, as of 2012, conducted since the start of the space age. The majority of the catalogued objects, however,  originate from in-orbit break-ups - more than 240 explosions - as well as fewer than 10 known collisions. According to 2012 American and European estimates, over 23 000 objects larger than 5-10 cm are orbiting Earth at typical speeds of 25 000 km/h.

The conference will address all major space debris topics, including: radar, optical and in-situ measurements; space surveillance and catalogue maintenance, debris and meteoroid environment modelling; on-orbit and re-entry risk assessments; orbit prediction and determination; debris mitigation and remediation measures; hypervelocity impacts and shielding; standardisation, policies and legal aspects.

Please find attached an outline programme for media. While journalists may attend all technical sessions, the slots listed below are recommended for general media.

Monday, 22 April, 09:00-12:00

Streamed live via:

Opening keynote: Human Spaceflight and Space Debris, by Reinhold Ewald, ESA Astronaut and former Head of Europe's Columbus Control Centre.

Introduction by Prof. Heiner Klinkrad, Head of ESA Space Debris Office, Conference chair.

Overview presentations on:
Orbital Debris: Past, Present, and Future, Stability of the Future Low Earth Orbit Environment;
ESA Clean Space Initiative;
System Performance Evaluation and Improvement of Observation Methods;
Service for In-orbit Collision Avoidance;
Debris Shielding Developments.

Opening sessions moderated by Manuel Metz, DLR, and Fernand Alby, CNES

Thursday, 25 April, 12:45-14:15

Concluding press conference with Q&A session in H-I conference room, ESA/ESOC, with Conference chair Prof. Heiner Klinkrad, Head of ESA Space Debris Office, and senior panellists from COSPAR, IAA, CNES, DLR, ASI, UKSA (names tbc).

Streamed live via: 

Further details and media registration

The detailed conference programme with all technical sessions, on conference venues, technical background material and abstract submissions via the ESA Conference Bureau:

Mandatory registration for Media until Friday, 18 April 2013 (if not done already via Conference Bureau):

More on ESA's space debris research, findings, models, regulatory aspects, videos, web streaming replay:

How to get to ESA/ESOC:

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with eight other Member States of the EU and is discussing an Agreement with the one remaining (Bulgaria). Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working actively with the EU, for the implementation of the programmes Galileo and Copernicus.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.
Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more at

For further information:

Bernhard von Weyhe, Andreas Schepers & Daniel Scuka, Corporate Communications Office, European Space Agency ESA/ESOC


Tel: +49 6151 90 2516