As of today, 1 July 2015, ESA has a new Director General: Johann-Dietrich Woerner, who has taken up duty at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France. 

“I am in the favourable position to nurture the seeds of Jean-Jacques Dordain’s work,” said Mr Woerner during a recent media briefing at the Paris Air Show, expressing his thanks to the parting Director General.

Mr Woerner called for the continuation of ESA’s ongoing programmes, projects and missions in cooperation with Member States, as well as preparing for ESA’s future, among the many important tasks he has to fulfil. 

Referring to this future as ‘Space 4.0’, Mr Woerner considers that ESA has already started to enter this new phase, in which space has become a day-to-day business and in which interaction with society, the commercialisation of space, resulting new roles for industry and a fostered, cooperative relation with the European Commission all play important roles.

The ESA Council unanimously appointed Mr Woerner on 18 December 2014 for a period of four years. Previously, he was Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), from March 2007 to June 2015. Originally from Kassel, Germany, Mr Woerner is married and has three children.

He succeeds Jean-Jacques Dordain, whose term of office ended on 30 June. Mr Dordain is ESA’s longest-serving Director General, who led the Agency from July 2003 and who looks back on numerous outstanding achievements. 

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. 

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 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, have signed Accession Agreements to the ESA Convention and will soon become new ESA Member States. 

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement. 

ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes. 

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. 

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. 

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. 

Learn more about ESA at