Johann-Dietrich Wörner, currently the head of Germany's space agency DLR, will become the new Director General (DG) of ESA next summer, succeeding Jean-Jacques Dordain.
A civil engineer, Wörner (whose name is often transliterated into English as Woerner), has led DLR since March 2007 as Chairman of its Executive Board.
Before joining DLR, he was President of the Technische Universität Darmstadt, where he previosuly was Dean of the Civil Engineering Faculty.
Prior positions included work for the civil engineering consultants König and Heunisch and, while a student, two years in Japan investigating earthquake safety.
Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board, DLR
Photo Credit: DLR
Dordain will remain at the helm until June 30, 2015 and Wörner
will begin his new duties as DG on July 1.
will be taking over an agency with stable funding of about 3 billion Euros a year, but as with most space agencies, aspirations often exceed available resources and he
will have his
work cut out for him navigating the ESA-EU relationship and convincing member states to fund ESA's many mandatory and optional programs.
At the December 2 meeting, Dordain was able to announce funding commitments only through 2017. (NASA is hoping ESA and its other ISS partners (Russia, Japan and Canada) will agree to support ISS through 2024, but that topic was not on the council's agenda at this meeting.) Launch vehicles and ISS are part of ESA's optional programs where member countries can choose to participate or not and Wörner will need to continue convincing participating members that they are getting sufficient return on their investment in ISS. Germany is viewed as the strongest supporter of ISS within ESA.
is well known in Washington space policy circles not only for his
effective representation of Germany's space interests, but charmingly quirky sense of humor and entertaining stories.