Skip to main content
Based on the current pandemic situation and further projections, we have decided to hold a virtual conference in April 2021.

8th European Conference on Space Debris


8th European Conference on Space Debris

ESA/ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany | Virtual Conference | 20 - 23 Apr 2021


Conference scope

EUROPEAN CONFERENCES ON SPACE DEBRIS are the largest dedicated gatherings on the subject. Internationally renowned scientists, engineers, operators, industry experts, lawyers and policy makers meet here to discuss different aspects of space debris research, including measurement techniques, environment modelling theories, risk analysis techniques, protection designs, mitigation & remediation concepts, and standardisation, policy, regulation & legal issues. During four days, the EIGHTH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON SPACE DEBRIS will provide a forum for presenting and discussing latest results, and for defining future directions of research and collaboration.

Target audience

The conference will provide a unique forum for information exchange, technical discussions and networking between space debris researchers, engineers & decision takers of industry, policy makers, regulators & space lawyers, insurance underwriters, space & ground system operators, institutional organisations (e.g. space agencies, EU, UNCOPUOS, IAA, COSPAR), academia and the government sector.

Debris background

Since 1957, nearly 6000 space launches have led to an on-orbit population today of more than 26,000 tracked objects. The very recent years have shown a significant and unprecedented growth, primarily in small and commercial satellites in Low-Earth orbits. Large constellations are being  deployed. Today, a total of about 2,800 objects are functional spacecraft. The remaining are space debris, i.e. objects which no longer serve any useful purpose. Most of the routinely tracked objects are fragments from about 550 break-ups, explosions, collisions, or anomalous events resulting in fragmentation of satellites or rocket bodies. In addition, there is evidence of a much larger population of debris that cannot be tracked operationally. An estimated number of 900,000 objects larger than 1 cm and 128 million objects larger than 1mm are expected to reside in earth orbits.

Due to relative orbital velocity of up to 56,000 km/h, centimetre-sized debris can seriously damage or disable an operational spacecraft. Collisions with an object larger than 10 cm will lead to catastrophic breakups, 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 missions operators, can curtail the growth rate of the space debris population. Active removal of large intact objects has been shown to be necessary to reverse the debris increase. In addition, it becomes important for each and every mission, whether a large constellation or a single 1U CubeSat, to quantify the impact it has on the space environment and other operators in order to achieve a sustainable space environment.
To improve our understanding of the space debris environment, assess related risks, mitigate its growth, and control its stability, collaboration of and information sharing between a multitude of technical disciplines is key. This conference aims to contribute to this goal by gathering recognised experts in their fields.

Scientific committee

Ettore Perozzi (ASI), Laurent Francillout (CNES), Manuel Metz (DLR), Jake Geer (UKSA, TBC), Carolin Frueh (Purdue, COSPAR), Christophe Bonnal (IAA), Jer-Chyi Liou (NASA),Thomas Schildknecht (AIUB, IAU), Georg Kirchner (OeAW/IWF), Satomi Kawamoto (JAXA), Luisa Innocenti (ESA), Dan Oltrogge (ISO, CCSDS), Jack Bacon (NASA). Frank Schaefer (EMI), Jenni Tapio (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, ECSL)