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Conference on space debris

6th European Conference on Space Debris
April 22-25, 2013
Darmstadt, Germany

First Announcement

Download the First Announcement: pdf format version

Background & Introduction

Since 1957, more than 4,900 space launches have led to an on-orbit population today of more than 22,000 trackable objects, with sizes larger than 10 cm. Approximately 1,000 of these are operational spacecraft. The remaining 94% are space debris, i.e. objects which no longer serve any useful purpose. About 64% of the routinely tracked objects are fragments from some 250 breakups, mainly explosions and collisions of satellites or rocket bodies. In addition, an estimated 700,000 objects larger than 1 cm and 170 million objects larger than 1 mm are expected to be in Earth orbits.  
Due to relative orbital velocities of up 56,000 km/h, centimeter-sized debris can seriously damage or disable an operational spacecraft, and collisions with objects larger than 10 cm will lead to catastrophic break-ups, releasing hazardous debris clouds of which some fragments can cause further catastrophic collisions that may lead to an unstable debris environment in some orbit regions (“Kessler syndrome”). Space debris mitigation measures, if properly implemented by spacecraft designers and mission operators, can curtail the growth rate of the debris population. Active debris removal, however, has been shown to be necessary to reverse the debris increase.
To improve our understanding of the space debris environment, assess related risks, mitigate its growth, and control its stability, a multitude of technical  disciplines is required. Many of these will be addressed in the course of this conference by recognized experts in their fields.

Scope & Target Audience

European Conferences on Space Debris are the largest dedicated gatherings on the subject. Internationally renowned experts meet here to discuss different aspects of space debris research, including measurement techniques, environment modeling theories, risk analysis techniques, protection designs, mitigation & remediation concepts, and policy & legal  issues.
During fours days, in two parallel sessions, the Sixth European Conference on Space Debris will provide a forum for presenting and discussing latest results, and for defining future directions of research. Special sessions will be devoted to active debris removal.

The conference will provide an internationally recognized environment for information exchange, technical discussions and networking between space debris researchers, engineers & decision takers of  industry, policy makers & space lawyers, insurance underwriters, space & ground system operators, institutional organizations (e.g. EU, EC, UNCOPUOS, IAA, COSPAR), space agencies, academia, and the defense sector.

Conference Topics

The conference program will highlight all classical disciplines of space debris research, including …

    radar, optical & in-situ measurements
    space surveillance & catalogs
    debris environment modeling
    on-orbit & re-entry risk assessments
    orbit prediction & determination
    debris mitigation & remediation
    hypervelocity impacts & shielding
    standardization & policies

The conference will include, as a special theme, the topic of active debris removal, in support of space debris environment remediation, to ensure a long-term sustainability of activities in space.

 Important Dates

14 Dec. 2012           Deadline for abstracts 
03 Feb. 2013           Notification of Authors
24 Feb. 2013           Final Program
22 Apr. 2013            Deadline for papers
22 – 25 Apr. 2013     6th European Conference on Space Debris
July 2013                 Publication of proceedings (distribution on a DVD)

Abstract Submission

Authors are invited to submit their abstracts according to the procedure described below. Each abstract (approximately 500 words) should clearly outline major achievements, innovative ideas, and key results. Papers will be selected on the basis of:

    interest in the subject by the target audience
    relevance to the conference topics
    originality of the ideas presented
    quality and clarity of the content

Papers must be submitted in English, according to the “instructions to authors”. English will also be the working language at the conference.

    Abstracts must be submitted by 07 Dec 2012

To submit an abstract, please go to and follow the instructions for the abstract style and abstract submission procedure, which are available on the submission form.

Conference Registration

    Early registration (through 10 Feb 2013):  €400 (students €200)
    Late registration (after 10 Feb. 2013):  €450 (students €225)

Please note the registration fees mentioned above include VAT 19%.

Registration fees include the proceedings and the conference video on a DVD, a welcome reception, free lunches, and free coffee breaks.

Please note that the participation at the Conference dinner and at the technical tour will be optional (with limited numbers of participants), to be booked extra on a first-come-first-served basis (see item “dinner & tour”).
To register, please click here

Letters of Invitation

Letters of invitation, for the purpose of visa applications, can be requested via email to the ESA Conference Bureau: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Please provide the following information: Family name, Name, Company, Address, Phone number, Email address, Passport number and Requested period of stay (date of arrival and departure).

Conference Dinner

    participation fee:        €90 (includes bus transport; no reductions apply)
    date & venue:            24 April 2013, 19:30
    departure & return:    24 April 2013, 19:00 departure and 22:45 return
    max. participants:      300

The conference dinner will be held at "Villa Kennedy" in Frankfurt (to be confirmed). It includes a welcome drink, a 4-course dinner, free beverages, and free bus transport from and to ESOC.

Technical Tour

    participation fee:        €50 (includes bus transport; no reductions apply)
    date & venue:            23 April 2013, 15:00, at “Rhein-Main Airport”
    departure & return:    23 April 2013, 13:00 departure and 17:30 return
    Max. participants:      150

The technical tour will visit the “Rhein-Main Airport” and look behind the scenes of the largest and busiest air traffic hub in Germany. The fee includes free bus transport from and to ESOC.

Conference Venue

The 6th European Conference on Space Debris will be held on 22-25 April 2013 at the

European Space Operations Centre ESA/ESOC,
Robert-Bosch-Strasse 5
64293 Darmstadt, Germany

Program Committee

    H. Klinkrad – ESA (chair)
    H. Krag – ESA (secretary)

    F. Alby – CNES
    Ch. Bonnal – CNES
    J.M. Contant – IAA
    R. Crowther – UK Space Agency
    G. Drolshagen – ESA
    E. Fletcher – ESA
    P. Hulsroj – ESPI
    N.L. Johnson – NASA
    L. Leushacke – Fraunhofer/FHR
    M. Metz – DLR
    C. Portelli – ASI
    F. Schäfer – Fraunhofer/EMI
    T. Schildknecht – University of Berne/AIUB
    T. Sgobba – ESA


ESA Conference Bureau
P.O. Box 299
2200 AG Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 71 565 5005
Fax: +31 71 565 5658
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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