to: 03 Sep 2020




The UK Science and Innovation Network, the UK Department for International Trade, the U.S. Embassy in Bern and the Swiss Space Office, in collaboration with the University of Bern and the swissnex network, are pleased to host a webinar on the issue of orbital debris, or – as commonly called – “space junk.”

More than 500,000 pieces of debris are currently being tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds of up to 28,000 km/h, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. The rising number of space debris increases the danger to all space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with humans aboard. During the virtual event, we will focus on the current activities and technologies developed by space agencies, academics, and industry worldwide to tackle this issue. We will also look at what obstacles need to be addressed and who could bring solutions.


16:00 –17:00 : The Agencies: 15-minute presentations each from NASA, UKSA and ESA. Followed by a 15-minute Q&A session.

  • Dr. Jer-Chyi Liou is the NASA Chief Scientist for Orbital Debris. Dr. Liou also serves as the Program Manager for the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. He is the Head of the NASA delegation to the IADC and a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN COPUOS/STSC.
  • Dr. Alice Bunn, International Director at the UK Space Agency, UKSA, responsible for international engagement through multilateral and bilateral frameworks. She also leads security and resilience of the UK’s infrastructure and space applications and is head of the UK delegation to ESA.
  • Dr. Holger Krag, since 2014 head of the Space Debris Office at the European Space Agency, ESA. He represents ESA in the IADC (Inter Agency Debris Coordination Committee). Since 2019, he is head of ESA’s Space Safety Program Office, which is responsible for the Agency’s Space Debris, Space Weather and Planetary Defence Activities.

Short break with a space-themed video.

17:00 –18:00: The Swiss Perspective: 10-minute presentations from ClearSpace SA, University of Bern, and the Swiss Space Office. Followed by a 15-minute Q&A session.

  • Luc Piguet, CEO and Co-founder of ClearSpace SA, a Swiss company developing technologies and services to locate, capture and remove space debris from Low Earth Orbit.
  • Prof. Thomas Schildknecht, Head of the Optical Astronomy Group of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and Director of the Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory Zimmerwald.
  • Dr. Renato Krpoun, Head of the Swiss Space Office (State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation), responsible for the preparation and implementation of Swiss space policy. Renato is also the head of the Swiss delegation to ESA.