ESA Names Reiter Head of New Human Spaceflight Directorate

ESA Names Reiter Head of New Human Spaceflight Directorate

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced today a new set of directors for various ESA offices and directorates. ESA announced a reorganization last fall, creating a new Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations and now has named former ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, from Germany, to be its first head. The reorganization takes effect on April 1.

Reiter’s directorate will be responsible for ESA’s contribution to the International Space Station (ISS) program, ESA human spaceflight activities in general, and flight operations of ESA human spaceflight missions. Reiter spent almost six months aboard the Soviet space station Mir in the mid-1990s, and more than five months on the ISS in 2006. Currently he is Executive Board Member responsible for Space Research and Technology at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Simonetta Di Pippo is currently ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight.

Last week, ESA’s Council concurred with the proposal of the United States to extend ISS operations until at least 2020. ESA member states that participate in the ISS committed 550 million Euros to cover ISS costs through 2012 when further financial commitments are decided at the next meeting of the ESA Ministerial Council.

Among other ESA appointments are Mr. Alvaro Gim nez Ca ete as head of the Directorate for Science and Robotics, replacing David Southwood; Mr. Didier Faivre as head of the Directorate for ESA’s participation in the European Galileo navigation satellite program, for which he is currently Acting Director; and Mr. Franco Ongaro as head of the Directorate for Technical and Quality Management, replacing acting director Philippe Perol.

The appointments coincide with the beginning of ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain’s third term, which lasts until 2015. ESA is an international organization with 18 Member States.

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