New ESA Center for Space Security in Darmstadt inaugurated

Build: © ESA / J. Mai

The European space agency Esa inaugurated its new center for space security in Darmstadt on Tuesday.

“It’s about civil security,” explained center director Rolf Densing. Events in space would be monitored to provide timely warning of potential impacts on Earth.

As an example, he gave large asteroids, which statistically would occur every five years. The last asteroid in 2018 had no impact on Earth. In 2013, however, an asteroid struck near Chelyabinsk in Russia, injuring 1,500 people. According to Densing, asteroids are observed in real time in the center, which is equipped with 3D animation technology, among other things.

The effects of solar activity are also an issue. For example, they could disrupt navigation, paralyze radio traffic and cause billions in damage overall, according to Densing. Thanks to the information from space, the satellites are also aligned in such a way that their sensitive sensors are protected from harmful influences.

The inauguration of the center with its 25 employees was the first public appearance of the new ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher (in the photo left with Densing right). “The new center demonstrates Europe’s ambition to protect its space missions and civil infrastructure on Earth well against threats from space,” he said. The native Austrian has been in office for around a year. Previously, he worked as ESA Director for Earth Observation programs and as head of an ESA office in Italy.

Esa is based in Paris.


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