Space coordinator for HesseThis Space News was published on Sat, 24.07.2021 – 12:10 CEST, covering Verwaltung
Following Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen, Hesse is now also increasing its focus on space activities. As of August 1, 2021, Prof. Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner will assume the role of Hesse's space coordinator.
As Hesse's Prime Minister Bouffier emphasized in Wiesbaden on Thursday (July 22, 2021), the newly created position, which is located directly at the State Chancellery, is well staffed:
"Prof. Dr. Wörner has been a well-known and renowned figure in the German, European and international space community for decades. Through his engineering education and previous activities, he has a high level of expertise in aerospace and an excellent network to relevant players in Germany and abroad."Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of Hesse
Prof. Dr. Wörner was Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) from March 1, 2007, to June 30, 2015, immediately after which he was Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA). His tenure at ESA is considered particularly successful, including paving the way toward the commercialization of spaceflight (NewSpace). However, he gave up his post as Director General prematurely on February 28, 2021, and was succeeded by the Austrian Josef Aschbacher.
Wörner's task now is to further advance state of Hesse as a space industry region. To this end, he is to develop a "future-proof space strategy for the state that closely integrates and more closely networks all the key players from science, research, technological development, education, business and industry, as well as the national and international organizations based in Hessen," according to a press release from the state of Hessen.
The federal state already plays a central role in German space activities, with Darmstadt leading the way. ESA's satellites are controlled and steered from here, as are those of EUMETSAT (European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites). In addition, the European Space Operations Center ESOC and the Center for Satellite Navigation Hessen cesah are based in Darmstadt. The satellite startup Vyoma was also founded in Darmstadt, but now has a headquarters in Munich.
Hesse's Economics Minister Al-Wazir also emphasized Hesse's tradition in space activities:
"Precision gears from Limburg flew to the moon with the Apollo missions, sensors from Lahnau have rolled over the red planet with the Mars rovers [...]."Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics
With the appointment of Prof. Dr. Wörner as Hessian Space Coordinator, the Hessian state government has implemented a point of the coalition agreement. In this, it is committed to strengthening Hessen as a space location.