DLR Selects Pascale Ehrenfreund As Its New Leader

DLR Selects Pascale Ehrenfreund As Its New Leader

The German Research Center (DLR) announced today that Pascale Ehrenfreund will replace Johann-Dietrich Wörner as Chair of its Executive Board.  Wörner is about to become Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA).

An astrobiologist, Ehrenfreund is well known in U.S. space policy circles.  Since 2008, she has served as a Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute.  She will be the first woman to head DLR.  Mathias Maching, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and chair of the DLR Senate, which selected Ehrenfreund, said he was “particularly pleased that … a woman will head the largest German engineering research facility for the first time.”

DLR has broad responsibilities in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security, but is best known to readers of this website as the entity that plans and implements Germany’s space program.  Germany has many space projects that are conducted nationally or internationally.  It is one of the top three (along with France and Italy) contributors to ESA.  Among Germany’s perhaps best known space projects are the Spacelab scientific research module that was carried in the space shuttle’s cargo bay, the Columbus module that is attached to the International Space Station, the airplane-based Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and the Philae spacecraft that landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund.  Photo credit:  DLR

Born in Vienna, Austria, Ehrenfreund received a masters degree in molecular biology from the University of Vienna, a doctorate in astrophysics from the University Paris VII/University Vienna, a habilitation in astrochemistry from the University of Vienna, and a master’s degree in management and leadership from Webster University in Leiden, the Netherlands.

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