DLR Picks George Washington Professor To Succeed Woerner

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PARIS — The German Aerospace Center, DLR, on June 18 said Pascale Ehrenfreund, a professor at the Space Policy Institute in Washington, would be the center’s new executive chair, succeeding Johann-Dietrich Woerner, who on July 1 becomes head of the European Space Agency.

The DLR Senate, chaired by Matthias Machnig, German State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, unanimously approved the appointment of Ehrenfreund as the first woman to lead a major German research facility.

DLR is Germany’s space agency and, like NASA, also manages a major aerospace-research portfolio. Germany is the second-largest contributor to the 22-nation ESA, after France.

Trained as an astrobiologist, Ehrenfreund has been a research professor of space policy and international affairs at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute since 2008. She has held teaching posts in Paris, Vienna, Leiden (the Netherlands) and at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Originally from Vienna, Ehrenfreund was appointed president of the Austrian Fund to promote scientific research in 2013.

She succeeds Johann-Dietrich Woerner, who is leaving DLR to become director-general of ESA next month.