France: ESA has appointed Josef Aschbacher as the new Director of ESA’s Earth Observation programmes. Aschbacher is currently heading the Programme Planning and Coordination in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA’s ESRIN, located in Frascati, Italy.
Born in Austria, he studied at the University of Innsbruck, graduating with a Master’s and a Doctoral Degree in Natural Sciences. He has 35 years of professional experience in Earth observation. His professional career in ESA began in 1990.
During 1994–2001 he worked at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, where he was the Scientific Assistant to the Director of the Space Applications Institute.
He returned to ESA HQ in Paris in 2001, and in 2014, he was promoted to his current position where he is responsible for planning ESA’s Earth observation programmes and for formulating and implementing programmatic and strategic decisions across the Directorate.
He is taking over from Mr Volker Liebig, who has been Director of Earth Observation since October 2004. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.