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N° 4–1997: Second European Conference on Space Debris

29 January 1997

The European Space Agency is hosting the Second European Conference on Space Debris from 17 to 19 March 1997 at its European Space Operations Centre (ESA/ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. The British, French, German and Italian space agencies (BNSC, CNES, DARA, ASI) and the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) are co sponsoring this event, which will draw over 200 experts from all over the world.

Space debris is of growing concern as a threat to manned and unmanned spaceflight, and the purpose of the Conference is to provide a forum for presentations of results from research on the subject. These will range from the orbital debris environment projections for the International Space Station, through the detection of debris at altitudes of some 1000 km to the use of lasers in the control and removal of space debris. The aspects that will be discussed include estimates of how many debris objects and meteoroids there are in near-Earth orbit, computer tools available or being developed to predict the growing number of man-made objects in space, analysis of material returned from space, and the risks run by satellites in low-Earth and geostationary orbit.

On 19 March a round table discussion will explore further steps to be taken to deal with space debris. The topicality of this theme is underlined by the launch later this year of the first element of the International Space Station, while telecommunications and Earth Observation satellites need to keep up with expanding world communications and environmental requirements over the coming years.

The Conference will be followed on 20/21 March 1997 by the 14th meeting of the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination committee (IADC), also at ESA/ESOC in Darmstadt.

IADC currently has 8 members (founder members: ESA, NASA, the Russian Space Agency RKA and Japan). Its purpose is to exchange results on space debris research, identify options for space debris mitigation, and promote joint research activities.

Journalists are welcome to attend the Second European Conference on Space Debris. For more information or requests for accreditation, please contact the Public Relations Office at ESOC, Darmstadt (Germany), Tel: (0)49.6151.90.2696/2459 - Fax : (0)49.6151.90.2961 or the conference organisation : (0)49.6151.90.2270.