ESA Agenda 2025 with ESA Director General Dr. Josef Aschbacher

Photo of European Space Agency (ESA) Director General, Dr. Dr. Josef Aschbacher

Please join the Space Policy Institute for a discussion of ESA Agenda 2025 with European Space Agency Director General Dr. Josef Aschbacher.


About the Event

The European Space Agency (ESA) Director General, Dr. Dr. Josef Aschbacher, has set high ambitions for space in Europe. ESA has a huge role to play. It requires cooperation with the European Union, space industry, and the scientific community as well as the co-creation of a new vision for Europe in space.

ESA Agenda 2025 outlines the challenges ahead for maintaining and growing Europe’s role in the space economy, both in the near and longer term. This means working with the European Union and space industry companies of all sizes. It requires inspiring and encouraging educators, entrepreneurs, the next generation of space scientists and engineers, and all the professionals needed to make great space missions. It also means developing programmes and missions that ESA member states can be proud of--new flagship missions in cooperation with European Union member states, and ESA-led missions to expand our knowledge and to protect Earth and its orbit.

Implementation of Agenda 2025 underpins the programme proposal that will be submitted to the ESA Council at the Ministerial level meetings scheduled to gather in Paris on 22-23 November. Such a gathering happens every three years. The meetings are when Ministers in charge of space in ESA Member States agree to implement new programmes and commit to funding of on-going and new programmes for the next three years.

Following the 2022 meetings, Dr. Aschbacher will present his agenda 2025 and discuss the outcome of the last ESA Council meeting at Ministerial level.


This will be a hybrid event. Guests are welcome to join us in-person at the Elliott School of International Affairs or online via Zoom. Please register for more information on how to access the event. If you'd like to attend in-person, we encourage you to register early, as in-person seating is limited.

This event is open to the public and media and will be recorded.


About the Speaker

Born in Austria, Josef Aschbacher studied at the University of Innsbruck, graduating with a Master’s degree and a PhD in natural sciences. He has had an accomplished international career in space, combining more than 35 years’ work experience at ESA, the European Commission, the Austrian Space Agency, the Asian Institute of Technology and the University of Innsbruck.

As Chief Executive Officer of ESA, Dr Aschbacher is responsible for the definition, implementation and development of Europe’s space infrastructure and activities, which include launchers, satellites performing Earth observation, navigation, telecommunication and space science, together with robotic exploration and ESA astronauts working on the International Space Station. He is responsible for an annual budget of €7 billion and a workforce of 5500 distributed across several establishments, principally in Europe.

When taking up office as ESA Director General, Dr Aschbacher published a new strategy for space in Europe, called 'Agenda 2025', aimed at accelerating significantly the use of space in Europe through major new initiatives and programmes.

From 2016–21, he was ESA Director for Earth Observation Programmes and Head of ESA’s ESRIN establishment in Frascati, Italy. He has been a key leader of the European Copernicus programme, which has grown beyond all expectations and is now considered to be one of the most ambitious and successful Earth observation programmes in the world.

He worked in various functions within ESA from 2001 onwards both in Paris and Frascati. From 1994–2000, he worked at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, in his latest position serving as Scientific Assistant to the Director of the Space Applications Institute. From 1991–93 he was stationed as ESA Representative in Southeast Asia, where he developed projects in the Asian region while, at the same time, working in a full-time academic teaching capacity as Associate Professor at AIT Bangkok.

In 2021, Dr Aschbacher became 'Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana', the highest recognition accorded to non-Italian nationals.