The European Space Agency (ESA) has a new Director General: Johann-Dietrich Wörner, who has taken up duty at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France.
“I am in the favourable position to nurture the seeds of Jean-Jacques Dordain’s work,” said Mr Wörner during a recent media briefing at the Paris Air Show, expressing his thanks to the parting Director General.
Mr Wörner (sometimes spelled Woerner) called for the continuation of ESA’s ongoing programmes, projects and missions in cooperation with Member States, as well as preparing for ESA’s future, among the many important tasks he has to fulfil.
Referring to this future as ‘Space 4.0’, Mr Wörner considers that ESA has already started to enter this new phase, in which space has become a day-to-day business and in which interaction with society, the commercialisation of space, resulting new roles for industry and a fostered, cooperative relation with the European Commission all play important roles.
The ESA Council unanimously appointed Mr Wörner on 18 December 2014 for a period of four years. Previously, he was Chief of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), from March 2007 to June 2015. Originally from Kassel, Germany, Mr Woerner is married and has three children.
Mr Wörner succeeds Jean-Jacques Dordain, whose term of office ended on 30 June. Mr Dordain is ESA’s longest-serving Director General, who led the Agency from July 2003 and who looks back on numerous outstanding achievements.