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N° 14–2001: Third European Conference on Space Debris

12 March 2001

The European Space Agency is hosting the third European Conference on Space Debris from 19 to 21 March at ESOC, its European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. The British, French, German and Italian space agencies (BNSC, CNES, DLR, ASI), the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), and the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) are co-sponsoring this event, which will draw over 200 experts from all over the world.

While the use of space is expanding in nearly all areas – e.g. telecommunication, navigation, Earth observation, science - space debris is of growing concern as a threat to manned and unmanned spaceflight. The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum for presentations of results from research topics ranging from ground- and space-based techniques for detection of orbital debris, trends in the orbital debris environment in Low Earth Orbit and the geostationary ring, the design of protective shields, to the removal of debris by tethers. The aspects that will be discussed include methods and computer tools to predict the growing number of man-made objects in space, analysis of material returned from space, risks run by satellites in low-Earth and geostationary orbit, risks on the ground from reentering objects, standards addressing safety and mitigation of space debris, and legal issues.

The conference programme can be found at the ESA website at:

On 21 March a round table discussion will address mitigation measures and their application. The topicality of this theme is underlined by the deliberations on space debris at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) where protection and preventive measures play a key role.

The conference will be followed on 22/23 March by the 19th meeting of the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), at DLR in Cologne, Germany.

IADC currently has 11 members (founder members: ESA, NASA, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Rosaviakosmos, and Japan), which will exchange results on space debris research, identify options for space debris mitigation, and promote joint research activities.

Journalists are welcome to attend the third 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.

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