Opinion No.18: A German scientist will lead the European Space Agency for the next four years


A few days ago, on December 18, 2014, the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA) announced the appointment of Prof. Dr. Ing. Johann-Dietrich (Jan) Wörner as the next Director General of ESA, for a period of four years starting on July 1, 2015[1]. The event was not at all a ‚front page news’ for […]

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Opinion No.16: Ups and downs in NASA’s programs for human space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit


A few days ago, on December 10, 2014, reporting on the project of SLS rocket (one of the trio of NASA’s related programs for human space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit), an article published by Washington Post cited the Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher who declared „it could cost at least $10 billion to develop this ‘monstrous rocket […]

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Opinion No.11: Space debris is boosting tensions between Russia and the West


„Russia may be testing a satellite capable of chasing down other orbiting spacecraft”, Paul Rincon wrote for BBC on November 20, 2014[1]. This grim evaluation is connected to a story which started some months earlier. On May 23, 2014, a Rockot booster lifted off from Plesetsk cosmodrome (the main military cosmodrome of Russia), carrying three […]

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Policy Brief No.56: Rosetta mission reaffirms EU’s power potential


On November 12, 2014, the Rosetta space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) succeeded the first soft landing in the history of humanity on a comet. Previously, the mission succeeded another big “first”: it was the first to rendezvous with, and then orbit, a comet. Beyond the ‘space archeology’ allowed by the mission (comets […]

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Opinion No.7: Anti-Satellite Systems versus the UN


Russia’s Foreign Ministry said for ITAR-TASS on November 4, 2014, that a quite recent Russian initiative – a United Nations General Assembly draft resolution for no-first placement of weapons in the outer space – “is supported by an overwhelming majority of UN member-states”[1]. From a total number of 193 UN member-states, 126 (which means some […]

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Opinion No.6: Some meanings and consequences of the recent explosion of a NASA-contracted rocket


An Antares-130 unmanned rocket owned by Orbital Sciences Corporation (a US private space company), carrying 30 different payloads[1], exploded on September 28, 2014, about 10 seconds after lifting off from a commercial space facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. A Cygnus spacecraft was the main payload of the rocket and it was carrying in 2.293 kg […]

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Policy Paper No.6: Visa problems for Russian and Chinese officials at the 65th annual meeting of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC)


Representatives from two of the world’s major space agencies, the Russian and the Chinese ones, were absent due to visa problems from “the world’s premier space event”[1], the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), whose 65th annual meeting took place in Toronto, Canada from September 29 to October 3, 2014. Russians said that space exploration is excessively politicized […]

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