German engineer Johann-Dietrich Woerner is the new director of the European Space Agency

ESA welcomes German space chief as new director general

German space chief Johann-Dietrich Woerner has become the new director general of the European Space Agency, replacing French aerospace engineer Jean-Jacques Dordain who has led the agency since 2003.

Woerner, previously an administrator of the German Aerospace Centre and head of the German delegation to ESA, was appointed unanimously by the ESA Council in December last year. He will lead the agency until 2019.

"I am in the favourable position to nurture the seeds of Jean-Jacques Dordain's work," said Woerner during a recent media briefing at the Paris Air Show.

Dordain was the longest-serving director general of ESA in the agency’s 40-year history.

Woerner pledged to continue with ESA’s ongoing programmes, projects and missions in cooperation with the agency’s 20 member states. However, he acknowledged his leadership means a new phase for the agency as it corresponds with the outset of the commercialisation of space that will open new possibilities for the industry.

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