Tracking Trash in Space Requires Global Cooperation

By Johann-Dietrich Woerner

Johann-Dietrich Woerner is the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA). Before joining ESA as Director General, Woerner was head of the German delegation to ESA from 2007 to 2015 and served as Chairman of the ESA Council from 2012 to 2014. He previously served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). 

Since the inception of satellites and human spaceflight, humanity has come to rely heavily on space, but in so doing, it has also produced particles of trash, which number in the hundreds of thousands and whiz around the Earth at over 17,000 miles per hour. For the moment, tracking and avoidance maneuvers have been sufficient to protect Earth’s orbit from becoming severely limited or unusable, but unless cleaned up, these particles of space junk continue to threaten space assets, and could even make space almost unusable if new objects are hit and more clouds of debris added. The Cipher Brief’s Fritz Lodge spoke with Director General of the European Space Agency, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, about the ways in which the world can come together to solve this global problem.

The Cipher Brief: In your mind, how serious is the threat posed to space security and sustainability by space debris?

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.

Sign Up Log In

Categorized as:Reporting Tech/CyberTagged with:

Related Articles